Taking out your contacts before you shower is always a pain, but it’s a necessary pain. Anyone who wears contacts knows the importance of this. And one man from Shropshire has learned that lesson the hard way.
29-year-old Nick Humphreys from Shrewsbury, has gone blind in his right eye and is now in need of a corneal transplant, after a parasite managed to get into his eye. Nick’s doctors told him that it was because he was wearing his contacts in the shower that allowed the parasite to burrow into his eye.
“I thought nothing of it at the time,” Nick said. “I was never told not to wear contact lenses in the shower, there’s no warning on the packaging and my opticians never mentioned a risk. The doctors said they couldn’t be sure what was happening until they had the test results back, but that they thought it might be Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK).”
AK is a water-borne parasite, which can be transmitted through water and into the eye.
“I’d never heard of the infection before, but as soon as I got home I turned to Dr. Google and was suddenly left thinking I was going to have my right eyeball removed,” Nick continued.
In March 2018, things went very bad for Nick when he suddenly went blind in one eye.
“I was driving to work and my vision completely went in my right eye,” he said. “I don’t know how I managed not to crash, but it didn’t take me long to realize I needed to get back to the hospital. I love my job but I physically couldn’t be outside the house. The pain in my eye was too much and the only time I would leave was to visit the hospital. I felt at my absolute lowest and the one thing that would cheer me up – playing football – was no longer an option.”
Nick then added, “Obviously, I didn’t want to be blind in my right eye, but at least, knowing the infection had gone, I could start to get my life back on track. I could finally return to work and start to hit the gym.”
Exercise has always been very important to Nick, and it was actually the reason behind what made him get his contacts in the first place.
“In my mid-twenties I really started to throw myself into exercise and at the time I thought my glasses were a massive hindrance,” Nick said.
“When I finally got over my fear of putting contacts in, I thought they were the best thing ever. On a standard morning I’d wake up, pop my lenses in and head to the gym before work, then I’d jump in the shower before heading to the office. I can honestly say if I’d had the slightest idea that this was even a remote possibility I would never have worn contacts in the first place. It’s crucial that people out there know this is a reality and it can happen because of something as simple as getting in the shower.”
Nick added, “I’ve lost 18 months of my life because of something as simple as showering with contacts in. If I get my sight back I’ll never wear contacts again.”
Nick is currently working with charity Fight For Sight in order to raise awareness for both the need for proper contact lens care, as well as more clear information on the packaging pertaining to concerns of the risks of water exposure.