Nick Humphreys, 29, knew that the lingering discomfort in his eye was more than a piece of grit when he woke up and could no longer open the eye at all.
The Shrewsbury resident went to see his optometrist who referred him to hospital.
Seven days later Mr Humphreys was diagnosed with Acanthamoeba keratitis following multiple tests.
He now has no sight in his right eye, although he hopes some vision will be restored through a corneal transplant.
Mr Humphreys has already undergone two procedures following the infection; a corneal crosslinking procedure that aims to make the tissues in the cornea stronger and an amniotic membrane transplant.
“Though medically speaking the operation went well, when I removed the patch and looked at the eye in the mirror, my heart sank. I felt like something from the exorcist was looking back at me,” Mr Humphreys shared.
He experienced periods of depression and anxiety because of his altered appearance.
“I’m now starting to feel slightly better about it all but still do not have sight in my right eye and am waiting for a corneal transplant to try and improve my vision,” Mr Humphreys said.
Mr Humphreys was a contact lens wearer before the infection and is calling for more information on contact lens packaging about the risk of Acanthamoeba keratitis.
“So few contact lens wearers are actually aware this could happen if you don’t use contact lenses correctly,” he emphasised.
A survey by Fight for Sight published in July revealed that 54% of contact lens wearers swam or showered in their contact lenses, while 47% said they had slept in their contact lenses.
The AOP has a range of contact lens resources on its website, including a patient advice leaflet for soft contact lens wearers that practitioners can download.
Image credit: Fight for Sight