Man Goes Blind In One Eye From Sleeping In His Contact Lenses

Tara West - Author

Nov. 3 2016, Updated 5:51 p.m. ET

A 39-year-old man from Cincinnati, Ohio slept in his contact lenses and is now bling in one eye. Chad Groeschen says that he routinely slept in his “extended wear” contact lenses without problems. However, that all changed when one morning he woke up with itchy eyes. Now, the man is blind in one eye with doctors noting Goreschen’s habit of sleeping in his contact lenses as the cause of the infection that led to his blindness.

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Chad Groeschen shared his story with Buzzfeed in an attempt to prevent others from dealing with the same situation. Groeschen notes that he often wore his extended wear contacts for a week at a time at night without removing them. That all changed when one morning he woke up with an itch in his eye that wouldn’t go away. Groeschen says he thought the initial itch was allergies so he wasn’t worried. The next day, things progressed quickly with cloudy vision and symptoms he attributed to a sinus infection. However, contrary to his initial belief, the eye issues were not allergies or a sinus infection. When Groeschen woke up on the third day, his vision was almost entirely gone and he had excruciating pain radiating throughout his eye.

Groeschen learned from an eye specialist that his eye had been infected with Pseudomonas bacteria. Fox 23 News notes that though some of his vision has been restored, things are still “wonky” in appearance. Doctors have informed Chad that his vision likely cannot be fully restored without a corneal transplant.

When Chad asked about the infection, doctors noted that the bacteria was likely contracted from sleeping in his “extended-wear” contacts. Groeschen wants others to learn from his mistake noting that despite a contact brand being labeled “extended-wear,” the American Academy of Ophthalmology says that overnight wear is not recommended for any contact lens type. The organization notes that overnight wearers are at increased risk for corneal infections of all sorts.

Groeschen’s doctor says that contact lenses can harbor bacteria and act as a petri dish for the bacteria to multiple. Though it might seem like Goreschen’s story is rare, Dr. Thomas Steinemann, a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, told BuzzFeed that he treats similar cases multiple times a year.

However, Groeschen is not alone in bad contact lens habits. A CDC study released on Thursday found that 99 percent of contact-wearers are practicing bad habits that put them at risk for an eye infection.

Did you know that sleeping in your contact lenses, even if they are designated as “extended-wear,” can increase your risk of eye infections?

[Image Credit: Facebook via Buzzfeed]


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