A British granny has gone partially blind due to a dangerous amoeba, which worked its way under her reusable contact lens during a shower and started eating away her left eye, a report said.
“I do struggle sometimes because my vision on my left side is rubbish, well it’s not there,” Marie Mason, 54, told South West News Service.
Mason, who has now lost her left eye, first noticed something was awry in 2015 after feeling like something was permanently stuck on her cornea.
From there, her vision deteriorated, prompting the frightened woman to report to the optician, whereupon she was referred to doctors to see what was amiss.
It was there medics discovered that Mason’s eye had been infiltrated by Acanthamoeba Keratitis, a rare but infectious microorganism that can cause the patient to lose their sight, the CDC said.
Mason was using her reusable contacts in the shower — which experts caution against — when the amoeba got between the lens and her eye, the report said.
Over time, the metastasizing organism feasted on Mason’s eye, causing her vision to deteriorate dramatically.
After failing to eradicate the interloper via various medications and several cornea transplants, Mason had no choice but to get her eye removed.
Needless to say, having only one eye has put a huge damper on the patient, who says her impaired vision impedes everyday tasks.
“It’s quite hard walking down the street when you’ve got people whizzing by you, and it makes you jump a bit because you don’t expect it,” said Mason. She added that she “stopped driving quite early on in the journey because I wasn’t comfortable with it, and I haven’t got the confidence to go back to it.”
In order to mitigate her symptoms, the patient has had to endure a grueling medication regimen and frequent hospital visits.
“There was just lots of hospital visits, lots of eye drops, lots of operations and procedures and lots of pain,” lamented Mason, who had to report to the hospital as often as three times a week to get her eye checked out.
The grandmother-of-one said she eventually quit her job as kitchen worker because has to “put eye drops in every half an hour so it just wasn’t going to work because it’s so painful.”
“I was also in eye casualty a lot because something would flare up, so with all the times I had to go into hospital, I couldn’t have gone to work because it wouldn’t have been worth it anyway,” Mason added.
Despite the obstacles, Mason has managed to maintain a semblance of a normal life. She now works as an administration assistant for her husband Jonathan, 50, and also volunteers for the local church.
“My life is alright now, I haven’t gone back to work to the place I left, but I now work for my husband,” the courageous patient said. “I’m also heavily involved with the church where I do a lot of voluntary work so my life has changed, but it’s a nice change, and it’s different.”
The embattled gal is using her ocular ordeal to try and persuade contact lens companies to put contamination warnings on their products. “Wear contact lenses, that’s absolutely fine, but you’ve just got to be careful — it’s the water thing more than anything,” she said. “I would just like the manufacturers to put more warnings on the packaging about water and contact lenses. I just don’t want anyone else to go through it really.”
Mason isn’t the first to lose her sight of Acanthamoeba Keratitis. In a similar case in 2019, an unfortunate 41-year-old woman in the UK went blind in her left eye after contracting the parasite thanks to her habit of swimming and showering with her contacts in.
In light of frequent infections, scientists are now warning people of the dangers of wearing long-term contact lenses. In fact, a recent study by UK scientists found that people who wear multi-use lenses are nearly four times more likely to develop a corneal infection that causes blindness than people who use disposables.