Radio Sandwell Local News

Birmingham student's eye was eaten by a bug

2015-05-21 08:56:43

Jess GreaneyJess Greaney, who almost went blind after a parasite started eating her eye.

A Birmingham student almost went blind after a bug started eating her eye.

Jess Greaney, 19, caught the infection from a water-borne parasite on her contact lenses.

She spent a week in hospital as medics battled to save her left eye.

During one test doctors clamped her eye open and scraped a layer off with a scalpel.

Even after she was allowed home, Jess still needed to take 41 eye drops a day – and still has the parasite in her eye.

The English student told the Mirror Online: “I still have the parasite in my eye.

“It’s hard to say how long it takes to get rid of it.

“It was constant pain.

“My eye was closing by itself. I couldn’t keep it open.

“I thought it was going to be a normal eye infection but one of my friends said: ‘I’m going to take you to hospital I don’t want anything to happen.’

“[Hospital staff] were really good in telling me how serious it was.

“I was really upset. It was in my cornea, eating away.

“The first few days it was quite hard – they kept me awake day and night for four days. It was alright at first, all my friends came to see me.

“Then it was Easter and a lot of them had to go home.”

By her fourth day in hospital, Jessica said she was “going insane” and crying every five minutes, with the parasite eating her eye and her system shutting down from a lack of sleep.

She is now taking 22 eye drops a day and has to see medics every fortnight.

The bug was called Acanthamoeba Keratitis.

Jess, who is from Birmingham but studying at Nottingham University, told student news site The Tab: “If water contaminates a lens, it can cause this type of infection.

“The parasite survives in the area between the lens and the eye, and it eats away at the cornea, through the eye and eventually into the spinal cord.

“If so much as a droplet of water gets into contact with the lens, problems can occur.

“I got my infection by just leaving my contact lenses near my sink, in a glass of solution.”

Sheis now part of a Facebook support group for those attacked by the parasite.

Some have needed cornea transplants or gone blind.

She had to have a month off studying but Nottingham University has extended her exam deadline.

Jess added: “I feel a lot better now, I’m back at uni now, back to normal life.”

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