Anyone who wears contact lenses knows the annoyance of losing one. Usually it falls in the sink, or the toilet, or some other extraordinarily inconvenient place. But somehow a woman in the UK lost 27 contact lenses inside her own head, and she had no idea anything was wrong until a flabbergasted doctor pulled them out.

When you see something like that, you have to tell everybody. The woman’s doctors have now written up the case for the British Medical Journal, which is basically the mature, professional doctor equivalent of running to your friends to say, “Shit, guys, you will not believe what I just saw!”

The patient was a 67-year-old woman who was scheduled for cataract surgery, and she had no idea there was something in her eye. She said her eye felt a bit dry and uncomfortable, but she thought it was just normal, age-related eye dryness.

The medical team had never seen anything like it.

When the doctors went in to perform the cataract surgery, though, they found a “bluish mass” of 17 disposable contact lenses all smooshed together into a mound in her eye.

The shocked medical team then probed further and found a second ball of 10 more contact lenses. That means the woman was walking around with 27 contact lenses in her eye for nobody knows how long.

“None of us have ever seen this before,” said ophthalmologist Rupal Morjaria. She says the team–including a specialist with 20 years of ophthalmology experience–was astonished that someone could have that many contacts without noticing. They all see people with one lens stuck under an eyelid sometimes. By the time a person gets to 27, doctors expect to find serious redness and irritation, if not infection.

The woman had apparently been wearing disposable monthly contact lenses for 35 years. Apparently she had lost a lot of them, but she had no idea they were all inside her eye. She had not been visiting an eye doctor regularly, clearly.

The woman said not having 27 contact lenses in her eye was much more comfortable.

When the woman came in for a follow-up appointment two weeks later, she was like, “Oh, this is much better!”

She thought her previous discomfort was just part of old age and dry eye,” Ms. Morjaria said to Optometry Today.

The doctors published the story to get people to be more careful about contact lens use. We can buy contact lenses online now, so lots of people skip out on routine eye doctor visits.

“In this day and age, when it is so easy to purchase contact lenses online, people become lax about having regular check ups,” Morjaria said. “Contact lenses are used all the time, but if they are not appropriately monitored we see people with serious eye infections that can cause them to lose their sight.”

Next time a contact lens goes missing, make sure you find it. Hygiene is important if you don’t want to wind up some doctor’s crazy Internet story.

(Image: iStockPhoto / scyther5)