Health

Mum goes blind in one eye after parasite burrows behind her contact lens while in the shower

Mum goes blind in one eye after parasite burrows behind her contact lens while in the shower

A mother has told of her horror after being blinded by a parasitic worm that burrowed
into her eyeball.

Suzanne Dunne also warned contact lens wearers. claiming that the bugs are “rampant” during the warm weather.

The nurse, from Donabate in North Co Dublin, Ireland, was left almost fully without sight after the parasite ate its way through her cornea.

Suzanne her eyes gradually became more irritable on July 20 and she was in severe pain with an infection by the evening.

She told the Irish Mirror : “At 7.30pm I said I was going to bed and then at 1am I woke up and I was blind. I didn’t know what was happening because everything was black.

“There’s so many power cuts in Donabate as it is so I thought it was that, but deep down I knew there was something wrong.

“So, I crawled my way out of the bedroom and my husband Paul is a taxi driver and thank God he came in [home] and he started screaming and he rang an ambulance.

“My sight was gone, completely gone. The whole place was black. My eye was being pushed out by the parasite.

“And I was so upset because the kids Mia [5] and Max [8] had woke up and seen me go off in the ambulance.”

Suzanne Dunne has warned other contact lens wearers

Suzanne, in her late 30s, was sent to the Mater Hospital for 16 days where she had to get bleach poured into her eye every day to kill the infection.

She added: “The staff were very good. They had to put a bleach in my eye and they told me to count to 10 the pain was so severe.

“They said, ‘Okay we’ve managed to deaden the nerves and clean them so we’ll be able to save the eye, but we’ll just have to keep you here’.

“So I was on morphine, the lot. The pain was like a searing hot knife through my eye.”

“They were going to take the eye out. They were saying this is the Acanthamoeba virus and it has to go.”

Explaining what happened to her, Suzanne said her consultant told her she “basically had a shower and there’s parasites in the water because the weather has been so warm.

“And this parasite went in behind your contact lenses”.

The Acanthamoeba virus is found in water

She explained: “It can only happen a contact lense wearer because the contact lense creates a vacuam in the eye. So if anything goes in behind it it makes it cling onto it.

“It acts up after four hours so it happened to me in the shower. I’d heard it was active in Asia. I didn’t realise but if temperatures get anyway warm or heated it’s active in everyday water in Ireland. It can happen so easily.

“It’s just there’s no warnings out there and I’ve met two people who have got contact lenses and haven’t been told about it.

“I wanted to highlight it because I don’t want people to go through the same thing I went through. In the winter time you’re safe.

“In warm conditions and because we haven’t had heat like this the parasite multiplies and it’s rampant. Even though the parasite is dead the damage is done.”

Speaking about her prognosis, Suzanne, said: “They don’t know. Everything is black. I’m on drops every half hour during the night and day.

“It’s not irreversible. It will do some form of damage as in scaring of the cornea and it will never come back to the way it was in one eye. They saved the right quick enough.”

The determined runner, who still hopes to complete the Dublin Marathon later this year concluded: “This has made me see things in a different perspective.

“I work for St Michael’s House and I work with blind kids [with an intellectual disability] day-in, day-out. And I’ve often gone in and said nothing.

“When you go into a room to a blind person you should say something, say who you are. It has made me look at things differently.”

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