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Woman loses eye after it became infected while she was having a shower

Marie Mason, 54, first noticed something was wrong when it constantly felt like something was stuck in her eye

Izzy Hawksworth
Friday 07 October 2022 15:00 BST
Related: Reusable contact lenses ‘more than triple risk’ of rare eye infection

A grandmother has lost an eye after it became infected when she wore contact lenses while having a shower.

Marie Mason, 54, developed an infection in her left eye after a microscopic amoeba present in tap water got between her contact lens and cornea.

She first noticed something was wrong when it constantly felt like something was stuck in her eye in 2015.

After her vision deteriorated, she went to the opticians who immediately rushed her to hospital.

Marie was then told she has a type of bacteria called Acanthamoeba Keratitis living inside of her eye, which was causing her the problems.

Acanthamoeba Keratitis is a rare infection that is caused by a microscopic, free-living organism which can cause permanent visual impairment or blindness.

Marie wore 30 day contact lenses, which mean she showered in them and as the infection can be found in tap water, it is believed that’s how her eye became infected.

Marie Mason's eye three years after being diagnosed (Marie Mason / SWNS)

The infection then multiplied, and over time it feasted on Marie’s cornea and her vision began to deteriorate.

After five years of trying numerous types of medication, a series of unsuccessfuloperations including three cornea transplants, her eye had to be removed.

Marie, who is from Sapcote in Leicteserhsire, said: “I had to stop work, because at the time I worked in a kitchen in a school, and I was having to put eye drops in every half an hour so it just wasn’t going to work because it’s so painful.

Marie Mason before the disease, she is wearing contact lenses in this picture (Marie Mason / SWNS)

“I also had to go to the hospital two to three times a week, and sometimes even more. I was also in eye casualty a lot because something would flare up, so with all the times I had to go into hospital, I couldn’t have gone to work because it wouldn’t have been worth it anyway.

Marie Mason now, with her fake eye (Marie Mason / SWNS)

“There was just lots of hospital visits, lots of eye drops, lots of operations and procedures and lots of pain.”

Marie is now calling for better warnings on contact lens packs over the risks of contamination.

She believes they warn users to not wear lenses in the shower and touch them after washing their hands.

She said: “I don’t want anything to think that I’m asking people to not wear contact lenses because I’m not asking that at all.

“Wear contact lenses, that’s absolutely fine, but you’ve just got to be careful - it’s the water thing more than anything.

“I would just like the manufactures to put more warnings on the packaging about water and contact lenses. I just don’t want anyone else to go through it really.”

Almost two years after having her eye removed, Marie’s life is almost back to normal.

Marie Mason a year after being diagnosed with the disease (Marie Mason / SWNS)

She is now back working as an admin assistant, working for her husband Jonathan, 50, and volunteers with her church.

However, she does ‘struggle sometimes’ with simple, everyday tasks such as walking down the street.

The grandmother-of-one said: “My life is alright now, I haven’t gone back to work to the place I left, but I now work for my husband. I’m also heavily involved with the church where I do a lot of voluntary work so my life has changed, but it’s a nice change, and it’s different.

“The only thing I’ve not gone back to is driving, I stopped driving quite early on in the journey because I wasn’t comfortable with it, and I haven’t got the confidence to go back to it, so that’s the main thing that’s changed for me.

“I do struggle sometimes because my vision on my left side is rubbish, well it’s not there. It’s quite hard walking down the street when you’ve got people whizzing by you, and it makes you jump a bit because you don’t expect it.”

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