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Vision & Hearing

Teen nearly blinded after parasite latches onto contact lens

When 18-year-old Ashley Hyde started to have throbbing and redness in her eye, doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her.

"They did multiple cultures where they scrape your eye," Ashley, from South Florida, told Local10.com. "One time, they had to drill into my eye. It was really nasty."

Eventually, doctors discovered the sickening source of Ashley’s pain.  A rare parasite had grown on her contact lens and was trying to eat its way through her cornea, Local10.com reported.  Had they not discovered it in time, Ashley could have lost the use of her eyesight.

Ashley had what is called an acanthamoeba infection.  A tiny parasite, commonly found in fresh water and soil, acanthamoeba are capable of spreading through contact lens infections, cuts or being inhaled into the lungs.

Acanthamoeba infections are just one possible side effect of improper cleaning of contact lenses.  Many ophthalmologists recommend using daily disposable contact lenses, to better avoid contracting infection and disease.

Ashley, who has to go through several more months of treatment, advocates to others the importance of thoroughly cleaning their contacts.

"It hurts," she told Local10.com. "I wouldn't risk it."

Click for more from Local10.com.