Man’s horrifying shower mistake
Taking a shower is an everyday task most of us don't think twice about.
But for British man Nick Humphreys, it's proved damaging to his health.
The 29-year-old was left blind in his right eye after taking his routine hose downs while still wearing his contact lenses - something wearers are warned against, The Sun reports.
"I thought nothing of it at the time. 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," he said.
Nick, who has worn glasses since he was four, made the switch to contacts in 2013 to make playing his beloved soccer easier.
"In my mid-20s I really started to throw myself into exercise, and at the time I thought my glasses were a massive hindrance," he explained.
"When I finally got over my fear of putting contacts in, I thought they were the best thing ever."
He'd wear his contacts up to five days a week and glasses on the other days.
"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," he said.
But after five years of showering with his contacts in, he started to notice something wasn't quite right in January 2018.
He assumed he'd scratched his eye while putting lenses in, but as the week went on, it became obvious that something more serious had happened.
"For a few days I used over-the-counter eye drops and turned all my phone and computer display settings down to the lowest brightness, which seemed to do the trick," he explained.
Eventually, Nick went to see an optician who told him he had an ulcer on his eye and recommended he go to hospital immediately.
The ulcer, however, turned out to be an infection called acanthamoeba keratitis (AK), which is caused by a tiny parasite found in water. It had entered Nick's eye during his daily morning shower.
While Nick said he'd "never heard of the infection before" - a week later doctors revealed the damage was so bad he may need to have his eye removed.
Despite having surgery to try to save his eye, Nick lost his sight six months later.
"I was driving to work and my vision completely went in my right eye," he recalled. "I don't know how I managed not to crash, but it didn't take me long to realise I needed to get back to the hospital."
The procedure - an amniotic membrane transplant to his right cornea - was performed in July last year. It cleared the infection, meaning Nick, who had been forced to stop work because of the pain, could at least start to get "back on track".
He said: "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."
Before, the pain had been "too much" and he struggled to leave the house.
"I felt at my absolute lowest and the one thing that would cheer me up - playing soccer - was no longer an option," Nick said.
After being referred to a counsellor by his GP, Nick has slowly come to terms with his condition.
He's now working with the UK charity Fight for Sight to raise awareness of the danger of using contact lenses in the shower or while swimming.
He said: "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.
"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."
According to Specsavers, wearing contacts during a shower is "inadvisable".
"Showering while wearing contact lenses is similar to swimming or sleeping with them in and counts as one of the most common errors in proper lens care," the company's website states.
"Water and contact lenses should simply not come into contact with one another, as this eyewear should be kept hygienically clean at all times. Otherwise, there is a possibility that germs or chemicals such as chlorine from the water, or even from the shower head, will get behind the contact lens and infect the eye."
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