Man left blind in right eye after wearing contact lenses in shower

Man left blind in right eye after wearing contact lenses in shower

A man who was left blinded after wearing contact lenses in the shower has opened up about how lens users need to take more care in their daily routine.

Nick Humphreys, a newspaper journalist who hails from Shropshire in England, was forced to undergo two operations on his right eye, and is currently waiting for a corneal transplant, after contracting the rare parasitical infection acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) in his right eye.

An image of Nick Humphreys. Credit: Press Association

Nick had been short-sighted for most of his life, but opted to start using contacts five days a week in 2013 so he could play sports. His optician had never told him not to wear his lenses while showering, and it was a whole five years before things went wrong for the sportsman.

In January 2018, Nick noticed when noticed a scratch on his right eye. He initially assumed that it, and his resulting vision problems, were caused by a scratch on the lens itself.

But in actual fact, it had been caused by an infection of the cornea, caused by a malignant microscopic organism called Acanthamoeba, which lives in shower water. Nick was placed on a course of antibiotic eye drops, but it was too little too late, and Nick lost his sight in the infected eye back in March of this year.

An image of Nick Humphreys. Credit: Press Association

Doctors decided that their only recourse was to perform a corneal cross-linking. This procedure involves using ultraviolet light and vitamin B2 drops to stiffen the cornea, bonding the fibers more tightly. He also went through an amniotic membrane transplant - in which tissue was grafted from the amniotic membrane onto the eye to protect the cornea.

Credit: Press Association

Commenting on his experience in a recent interview, Nick stated:

"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."

An image of Nick Humphreys. Credit: Press Association

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. Instead, like Edgar Davids – the former Dutch professional footballer – I’ll wear some prescription goggles to do sport instead."

Nick sadly still hasn't regained his sight. But he has recently started campaigning on behalf of Fight For Sight, to raise awareness of blindness and optical issues.