Contact lens found stuck under woman's eyelid 28 years after she thought she had lost it

After 28 years of 'drooly vision', the unnamed woman was finally relieved to have the contact lens stuck in her eyes removed


                            Contact lens found stuck under woman's eyelid 28 years after she thought she had lost it

A 42-year-old woman who thought she had lost her contact lens following an accident almost 28 years ago was surprised to discover that it was stuck under her upper eyelid for all these years. Six months ago, the woman started experiencing pain and found a swelling above her left eye. The swollen and drooping left eyelid led doctors to discover a rigid contact lens, wrapped completely in a cyst, hidden in the fold of skin. 

As the swelling began to grow and got increasingly painful, the unnamed woman consulted an eye specialist but the reason behind the swelling was still unknown. Although there was a lump close to her nose on her eyelid, there weren't any visible scars or sensation of inflammation. When the MRI revealed the cyst, she was required to remove it surgically. It was during the surgical process that the doctors realized that the cyst was a hard contact lens. Apparently, the woman was hit with a shuttlecock in the eye while playing badminton when she was 14, causing the lens to push in under the eyelid. 

The cyst caused a swelling right above her nose. (BMJ Report)
The cyst caused a swelling right above her nose. (BMJ Report)

Although the swelling after the injury eventually decreased, she avoided putting on any contact lens. According to USA Today, Dr. Sirjhun Patel wrote in the BMJ case report, "We can infer that the lens migrated into the patient’s left upper eyelid at the time of trauma and had been in situ for the last 28 years."

The contact lens had probably been the cause behind the patient's droopy eyelids. As her vision was not damaged, she managed to get a full recovery as soon as the lens was removed. Patel said, "The migration of a rigid gas permeable (RGP) lens into the eyelid is a rare cause of eyelid swelling." 

The lens stuck to her upper eyelid for almost 28 years. (BMJ Report)
The lens stuck to her upper eyelid for almost 28 years. (BMJ Report)

Further explaining the effects of having a contact lens stuck in the eye, he said, "Spontaneous migration of a hard contact lens into the eyelid is a relatively known occurrence, but we were only able to find four reported cases of lens migration secondary to significant trauma. 

This case report exhibits the longest time between traumatic RGP lens migration into the eyelid and presentation of eyelid swelling.”

A short summary on the report by BMJ explains the situation as a patient who was "presented with left upper eyelid swelling and ptosis. The MRI reported a cyst with proteinaceous content. On surgical excision of the cyst, a rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lens was found. The RGP lens was encapsulated within the upper eyelid soft tissue. It was later revealed that the patient experienced childhood trauma while wearing RGP contact lenses 28 years previously. The patient assumed that the RGP lens fell out and was lost; however, it can be inferred that the lens migrated into the eyelid and resided there asymptomatically for 28 years."