Posted in: Health

Girl Didn’t Remove Contact Lenses For Six Months, Went Blind After Bug Ate Eyeballs


Lian Kao is a 23-year-old Taiwanese student who became blind from a totally preventable situation. Lian wore a pair of disposable contact lenses for six month without ever removing them even once, according to a report in The Daily Mail.

As a result, a microscopic bug was able to grow in the space between the lens and the cornea and eventually devoured the surface of the eyeball. Extraordinarily, she never removed the lenses for cleaning at any time during the six months.

Apart from regular cleaning, lenses are supposed to be removed when swimming or washing and should ideally not be worn for more than eight hours a day.

Kao did not follow these instructions, and when they removed the lenses, doctors were horrified to discover that the eye surface had been literally eaten away by the tiny amoeba trapped underneath.

Wu Jian-liang, the director of ophthalmology at Taipei’s Wan Fang Hospital, said:

“Contact lens wearers are a high-risk group that can easily be exposed to eye diseases. A shortage of oxygen can destroy the surface of the epithelial tissue, creating tiny wounds into which the bacteria can easily infect, spreading to the rest of the eye and providing a perfect breeding ground. The girl should have thrown the contact lenses away after a month but instead she overused them and has now permanently damaged her corneas.”

He added that the girl’s case was a way of urging others to be more careful if they plan to use contact lenses. Kao has been diagnosed with acanthamoeba keratitis, which occurs much more frequently in the summer months.

The condition develops over several years – but it’s only when it gets to an advanced stage that contacts wearers become aware of the problem. Then they experience symptoms like red, irritated eyes, by which time it may be too late.

Unfortunately for Lian Kao, it seems that for her, it is already too late.

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112 Responses to “Girl Didn’t Remove Contact Lenses For Six Months, Went Blind After Bug Ate Eyeballs”

  1. Lola Jordan

    I loved being able to see, but after two bouts with infection due to having eyes that are too dry, I had to give them up. I hate wearing glasses, but it's better than being blind.

  2. Mike Keating

    dont you just hate it hate it hate it, when bugs get under your contact
    and slowly devour your eyeball? I have NEVER like that, and when
    riding my Harley it happens all the time!

  3. Brigette Eckert

    If this is true- how did she manage to not take them out for 6 months? My contacts get dry after 12 hours and i've spelt in them but it feels strange :/ – not comfy at all

  4. Anonymous

    I wore contacts for 9 years before i got the LASIK surgery in the military. At the time, disposable contacts were the way to go as long as u cleaned them in solution when they irritate your eyes. The disease this girl went through, is very rare and in no way shape or form should discourage anyway from wearing contacts. Disposables are the best ones out there and easiest to take care of and throw away. (not unless u r foolish like this person was).

  5. Naomi Mena

    If you wear them responsibly, they're fine. Just take them off before going to sleep and clean them – it's not hard to. Before I got lasik surgery I wore contacts for 20 years no problem. For me vision is much better than glasses (no glare) and comfortable if the fit is right..

  6. Ebenezer McIntosh

    Luckily, my friend Ben Franklin invented spectacles, so these "contac lenses" needn't be upon thine eyes.

  7. Anonymous

    You'd think she'd feel discomfort. And it is a wonder she felt she could wear them for that long without cleaning them, changing them, or a need to wet them. It really was foolish of her. I suppose someday she'll get a corneal transplant, but that should be reserved for someone who had an accident and not done it to herself. Sorry for her and sorry if I sound uncaring.

  8. Bruce Halperin

    The good news is, she won't need to wear contacts ever again…

  9. Anonymous

    University of Oregon….. Ok.. Scratch that off the list..

  10. Anonymous

    wow ive had mine in for close to 4 months no money for more, gotta take em out and clean them now im freaked the hell out

  11. Rory Metcalf

    There are tons of cute glasses out there now. I was a dedicated contacts over-wearer* for many years, but got tired of my eyes bothering me, and I'm not a candidate for LASIK. Started wearing glasses full-time several years ago, and if I won the lottery I'd have a wardrobe of glasses.

    *by hours, not months!

  12. Beatrice Poisson

    Hold-up, hold-up!!!! There has to be more to this story. This woman has to be a meth-head or something! There is NO WAAAYY you can keep in lenses for that long without the pain / irritation being so intense that you literally want to pluck your own eyes out! I wear hard contacts, but I also wear soft contacts under them to "piggyback" EVERYDAY. And even when I leave those suckers in overnight which I shouldn't do they take their revenge!!! How the eff did she do this for 6 months??!! Twisted!!!

  13. Anonymous

    they left out the part that she's retarded and her parents are christians

  14. Anonymous

    your wrong 122 children went blind in the usa last year for this same problem

  15. Anonymous

    I tried wearing contacts and my eyes burned something fierce. Then, I changed to the sensitive solution, no change. Then, I went to the doctor(ophthalmologist) and bought hypoallergenic, dry eyes formula that costs almost 50 dollars a bottle, still, no change. I went back to the doctor, got glasses and have not bothered with contacts since. I will never put myself through that torture again!

  16. Stephen Barany

    why is this example of idiocy a story? How does this end up on here anyway? another example of something masquerading as a event of interest.

  17. Mel Knox

    This is Gary: My guess is she did not wash anything…..A true human pig!

  18. James Malenfant

    Yeah, sure. Has anyone noticed these kinds of things always happen in remote villages, third world countries, and England? Oh, wait, England has crop circles, and aliens. Whatever. I would need to see the picture of the eyeball to be convinced. Nice try. Have a great day!

  19. Lý Trúc Việt

    I don't think this story is true at all. You can wear contact lens for a may be a week and remove at least once to clean them. Any longer than that you will have a bad eye infection like conjunctivitis or else the contact lens travel to the top and back of the socket and stayed there, in that case it would prompt you to have a doctor visit shortly there after. I'd say it'd take approximately two weeks for you to have corneal damage, at that point, you'll have a hard time seeing anything. Six months is quite a stretch of the imaginations.

  20. Rachel Marks

    How would she have been able to SEE?! Before I switched to dailies, I was wearing 2-week contacts and even though I cleaned them, my eyes still built up a huge amount of protein that made the lenses all spotty.

  21. Brett Howard

    I had the same problem, but solved it with my Opthamologist. First, he inserted a plug into each of my tear ducts to keep the moisture in the eyes. Then he prescribed me Restasis to use twice a day for dry eyes. In between, I use Refresh Liquid Gel when the lenses are not in and Refresh Re-wetting Drops when the lenses are in. Lastly, I use disposable 1 Day Accuvue Moist Lenses that especially made for dry eyes. If you live in a dry climate or run the heat in the wintertime indoors, a humidifier will help, also.

  22. Anonymous

    Throw them away.
    Ask God to help you with money for new ones.

  23. Martin Streett

    I can't imagine what the hell she was thinking. To not follow the instruction on the contact package and/or the eye doctor is just inexcusable. You can't fix stupid.

  24. Bill Yonan

    If you don't clean your lenses or replace the solution daily, it's the same as never taking a shower or taking a bath in the same bath water every day until you finally change it. Gross. Be compliant or better yet get LASIK. The technology is so good now, why wouldn't you?

  25. Anonymous

    that is just stupid. Any people who have common sense would know that cleaning the contact is must.

  26. Anonymous

    I just don't buy this story at all. 6 months ?? I would like to see some verification on this story. It sounds totally phony to me.

  27. Pam Rosenberg

    OMG. Wouldn't it have hurt after awhile? Wouldn't she have noticed vision problems? Gross and sad.

  28. Anonymous

    I've had glasses since I was 5 years old, been wearing contacts since I was 10, been sleeping with them since I was 15, and am now 29. Never wanted Lasik because I have 20/10 vision with my contacts and Lasik can normally only accomplish 20/40 to 20/20 at best, so I figure why risk going backwards when I find contacts to be a non-issue. And to get to the point…I think the last time I cleaned/changed the pair I am wearing was probably at least 6 months ago lol.

    I do keep my eyes fairly lubricated though, always have some eye drops with me. And yes, my optometrists have been aware for over a decade. Not everyone's eyes are the same, I know people who can't wear them at all…and then there is me lol. What happened to this poor girl is extremely rare and shouldn't dissuade someone. What is a bigger concern are protein deposits that can build up and scar the eye. But when that happens it is visible and they can be cleaned off with normal solution, or disposed of for a fresh set.

  29. Joyce Unangst

    Lola…I just got plugs put in my eyes for dry eyes…..simple procedure….took minutes

  30. Anonymous

    Actually not true I wear mine for a year straight or longer without ever removing them. The only time my eyes are dry is when I wake up I just rinse them in my eyes with the cleaning solution.

  31. Anonymous

    This amoeba situation is extremely rare like she is the first case ever to have had it. She more then likely went swimming in warmer water like a lake or pond and had her eyes open to even contract the amoeba. Just another 1 time scare tactic so contact companies can make more money by making you change them out on a daily bases.

  32. Anonymous

    I believe this is B.S. try ro get you to use contact cleaning products add. nothing more than scare tactics.

  33. Daniel Gol

    I wore soft lenses about 30 years ago. You just cannot use disposable lenses like extended wear lenses. Even extended wear had to be removed and treated once a month. I'm not sure if the lenses are of the same characteristics today as they were back then, but I hope that this girl may get a cornea transplant.

  34. Chong Then

    This is like the case of Wong Dong. A man had a bad case of std and the doctor said you have to be amputated. The man went to a Chinese doctor for a second opinion and he said " No amputation, one week fall off".

  35. Anonymous

    WOW! Guess she didn't see that coming!

    Hey…that was just too easy. Couldn't resist!

  36. Daniel Gol

    What scares me about this is that someone that you trust mat be doing this or something like this, whether it be our politicians, police, judges, teachers or doctors. HELP!

  37. Daniel Gol

    I can't understand why people don't believe the story or think it's just a tactic for the optical business to buy their products.

  38. Anonymous

    The story is just plain b.s. because I did the same thing while being outdoors in tropical Puerto Rico every day for about a year and had no probelms or damage done.

  39. Anonymous

    Fortunately for her, artificial corneas are available, so she is not permanently blind. Corneal transplants are common for people with cataracts. But this is a huge wake up call for her.

  40. Anonymous

    I think she meant to say "spit".

    When I was in combat we didn't have time to take our contacts out and clean them, and we had to ask the guy in the foxhole with us to spit in our eye to add some moisture to them that would help to wash the sand away.

  41. Anonymous

    I think she meant to say "spit".

    When I was in combat we didn't have time to take our contacts out and clean them, and we had to ask the guy in the foxhole with us to spit in our eye to add some moisture to them that would help to wash the sand away.

  42. Chris DeMartino

    This is a load of BS. I have been wearing the same pair of "disposable" contacts for well OVER a year now, and I have been wearing them like this for the past 20 years! I have never had a problem or even gotten pink eye doing this, much less gone blind.

  43. Anonymous

    well i guess this is ganna saves as a lesson to others

  44. Alex Domanovic

    i agree. no reason to pity the just plain stupid.

  45. Alex Domanovic

    shes tawainese. let the stereotypes begin. oh you're from taiwan? i cant see you

  46. Alex Domanovic

    new addition to the guinness book of world records as the "stupidest human" on earth

  47. Jose Ivan

    the Good news she wont need contact lenses anymore!!

  48. Tori Blake Thompson

    Just because she was stupid and didn't take them out for 6 months, doesn't mean people shouldn't wear contacts.

  49. Anonymous

    I'm in my 40's now but when I was in my twenties I met a slightly older than I was woman who constantly FOOLISHLY did exactly what this young girl did. I was SHOCKED when this woman I worked with bluntly informed me that she would ALWAYS wear her contact lenses day & night & NEVER remove those lenses until her eyes began bothering her. This woman told me that she would OFTEN go six months at a time w/out ever removing/cleaning her contact lenses, & I WARNED HER that our fragile human eyes NEED TO BREATHE & that even though nothing bad had happened yet to her poor, fragile eyes she was choosing to not allow to breathe FOR MONTHS ON END that didn't mean that something VERY BAD wouldn't happen to her eyes sometime in the future=She pretty much laughed at my "silly concerns", so if anything bad did eventually happen to her eyes she can't say she wasn't warned!

  50. Anonymous

    A woman I met at work over 20 years ago used to ALWAYS do EXACTLY what this FOOLISH, young girl apparently did, & the woman I met at work would reply to your type of inquiry (similar to the questions my HORRIFIED self asked this woman over 20 years ago) with a blase, "My eyes NEVER get dry or bother me at all". Basically this woman was CHOOSING to play "Russian Roulette" with her eyes/eyesight, & she KNEW she was engaging in potentially risky behavior just like my college freshman roommate who would ALWAYS SPEED while driving knew she might eventually get a speeding ticket. (What my college freshman roommate failed to comprehend was that her SELFISH LOVE of SPEEDING while driving her car might "someday" cost her her life or cause the death/serious injury of a person other than herself.)

  51. Tina Rickabaugh

    Just because it doesn't happen to one person doesn't mean it can't happen to someone else.

  52. Anonymous

    You were simply CHOOSING to play "Russian Roulette" with your eyes/eyesight & you were lucky=Just because nothing bad happened to you, this woman I knew long ago, or numerous other people who were foolish enough to think that all sorts of NASTY things can't happen to eyes that are never allowed to breathe for months on end does not in any manner whatsoever mean that nothing bad could ever happen to the eyes of any of you as the end result of your FOOLISH BEHAVIOR: Contact lenses are supposed to be cleaned after you remove them because dirt, bacteria, etc build up on contact lenses after a period of time & our human eyes need to have contact free times to simply breathe. It makes me ILL to think that people like you would wear your contact lenses day/night for a year just because those lenses happened to not cause your eyes to experience any physical discomfort-happened to ON THE SURFACE not bother your eyes. You should be very careful because "someday" your luck might run out & you might experience something similar to the HORRIFIC thing that happened to this girl! ***CONTACT LENSES ARE NOT MEANT TO BE WORN DAY.NIGHT FOR MONTHS ON END, & it shocks/APPALLS me that anybody out there would ever take such a risk with his extremely delicate eye area!

  53. Robert Moore

    I tried wearing contacts for two weeks. My eyes teared constantly, which blurred my vision awfully. I've been wearing glasses since I was seven so basically for fifty-two years. I thought about Lasix, but after reading about some of the things that can and occasionally do go wrong, I stuck with glasses.

  54. Anonymous

    Some very lucky folks don't EVER experience any type of dry eyes/discomfort while wearing soft contact lenses: You & I do experience dry eyes/discomfort when we wear our soft contact lenses for too long or fall asleep w/out first removing our contact lenses so you & I can't imagine/ FATHOM how any person could ever literally go months at a time & NEVER, ever, ever even once remove his contact lenses from his eyes?

  55. Michelle Alfaro

    Was she just lazy. You are told not to sleep with them. You must remove and clean daily. There you eyes for heavens sake, you don't leave nothing to chance. I've worn contacts for 15 yrs you have to be responsible or loose your eye sight.

  56. Jennifer H. Kong

    She should've *seen* that one comin'. Badum bump.

  57. AS Abbey

    Well, Forest Gump said it…………..Stupid is as stupid does

  58. Andrea Ansel

    I absolutely cannot wear them over 3 weeks. they get gritty and disgusting and hurt. especially if you have allergies. I also HAVE to take them out every night by 7 pm. Now I have switched to glasses and am more happy with them.

  59. Susan Gummere

    Joyce Unangst Why are your eyes so dry? If they continue to get more dry and you are not taking drying medications, please talk to your doctor about this. Plugs don't enable everyone with dry eyes to wear contacts – but if it works for you, good! I have Sjogren's Syndrome. My eyes are so dry that no contact has ever been comfortable and I'm an optometrist who really WANTED to wear contacts!

  60. Susan Gummere

    You'd be surprised how many idiots are out there doing this. I know otherwise smart people who tell me they are wearing lenses approved for up to one month extended wear. Unless the doctor fit them for extended wear, that approval doesn't mean anything. And wearing a contact for so very long can kill off sensation which is the only way I can figure this girl managed to do this. Acanthamoeba infections are extremely painful.

  61. Susan Gummere

    equestrian_colt You are a fool, then. You don't have discomfort because you are damaging the nerves in the eye. That's how this girl managed as well. It's a reasonable question. She must have ignored initial discomfort. I had one patient who wore very thick PMMA lenses extended wear for years. Her corneas were so starved for oxygen that two very large blood vessels grew into the middle of her cornea. Vessels like that are very fragile. If one of them bled, the blood would stain her cornea and she would never see clearly again.

  62. Susan Gummere

    It is FAIRLY rare. It is mostly associated with tap water, swimming pools, and especially hot tubs. It is also an extremely painful infection so unless you're wearing your contacts so much that you have deadened the corneal nerves, you're going to know something is wrong. It was the presence of acanthamoeba in tap water that tipped eye care professionals into getting rid of homemade saline used with heat treatment for contacts disinfection systems.

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