Curious case of the lost contact lens - after 28 years!

A 14 year old girl in United Kingdom around three decades back took a hit in the eye while playing badminton. She then lost her contact lens which was never found. After 28 years, the doctors have found the lens – it was embedded in a cyst in the inner wall of her left eyelid!

The unique case report appeared in the latest issue of the journal BMJ Case Reports on the 10th of august.

Image Credit: REDPIXEL.PL / Shutterstock
Image Credit: REDPIXEL.PL / Shutterstock

At the age of 42 the woman came to her ophthalmologist with swelling in her left eye lid and drooping of the same lid for the past six months. On examination the doctors could feel a small pea-sized lump under the skin of her eye lid. They went on to perform an MRI scan of the eye. The MRI showed a “well-defined” cyst that was 8 by 4 by 6 millimeters (0.31 by 0.16 by 0.24 inches) in size and was located right above the left eye. They then scheduled a surgery and removed the cyst.

After surgery as they broke open the cyst they found a fragile and hard gas-permeable contact lens within the cyst. On asking the lady they at first could not elicit how the lens got there. The incident had been so long ago that she initially failed to recall it. The lady’s mother remembered however that she had been hit with the shuttlecock in the eye 28 years earlier and the lens was never found. Thereafter this patient never wore hard contact lens again. This kind of contact lens injury typically causes a sharp and a scratchy pain along with redness. The 14 year old girl at the time did not experience such symptoms. Once the shuttlecock injury healed, she seemed to have completely recovered. The family assumed that the lens had flown out of her eye on impact.

According to the doctors in the report, they could, “infer that the [contact] lens migrated into the patient's left upper eyelid at the time of trauma and [remained there] for the last 28 years.” They added that they have not been able to fathom why the lens caused the swelling and inflammation after all these years. They wrote that there were no reported triggers that could have caused these renewed symptoms. She had a droopy eye for a long time she said but there was not clear discomfort all these years.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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