A pensioner lost his eye after developing a fungal infection on a dream trip to Thailand.
Raymond Kay was in Pattaya when he first felt a foreign body sensation in his left eye. At first he assumed it was his contact lens, so he took it out and cleaned it. The 68-year-old claims the feeling never went away and within days he was in “excruciating” pain. So much so that he was forced to go to a Thai clinic to get eye drops.
After treatment failed, the father-of-four returned to the UK. Upon arrival he visited his local Specsavers branch where the staff took a look and told him to go straight to the hospital, MEN Reports.
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After multiple eye tests, swabs and medication – including treatment on Christmas Day – it was determined that Raymond had a fungal eye infection and needed a corneal transplant. The operation took place on New Year’s Eve and his old cornea was placed in a laboratory.
The next fortnight was spent in hospital, where Raymond received round-the-clock care. But things got worse after his new cornea detached months later.
As a result, the surgeons had to make a life-changing decision by completely removing the eye. Raymond said: “I now have a fake eye.
“Everything is half as good as before, but you get used to it. It’s hard at first because you lose your peripheral vision. After the operation, I started losing vision in my good eye too .
“I had to have a cataract removed. Now I have to have a laser because the scar tissue behind the lens is starting to fog up. This is a constant worry for me. »
Although fungal eye infections are rare, they can be very serious. The most common way for a person to develop a fungal eye infection is as a result of an injury to the eye, particularly if the injury was caused by plant material such as a stick or thorn. Fungal infections can also come from outside sources such as vegetation that can rub against the eyes.
Raymond has no idea how the fungal infection in his eye started, but he thinks his 30-day contact lenses, which he started wearing in 2018, may have made the symptoms worse.
He admitted: ‘It was excruciating pain, it was 24/7. The eye looked like it had a white mark in the centre.
Although there is no direct evidence to suggest that contact lenses cause fungal infections, there may be a link between the two, according to Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Fungal keratitis can occur with contact lens wear, but mainly occurs in people who suffer eye damage from farming or gardening accidents, ocular surface disease, and immunosuppressed people. This infection is one of the most serious forms of corneal infection that can occur when wearing contact lenses.
To avoid infections, the NHS advises contact lens wearers to get regular check-ups from their optician, always wash and dry their hands before handling lenses, check that the lenses are not upside down and apply the lenses before putting on make-up. It is advisable never to use tap water to clean the lenses, to sleep with them or to wear them while swimming or in the shower.