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Woman suffers rare eye disease after swimming while wearing contact lenses

Priscilla Lin: 'I never thought it would happen to me'

SAN ANTONIO – While summer is a great time to hit the pools or the lakes, a local optometrist who specializes in refractive surgery is warning people not to take a dip while wearing contact lenses.

"One of the precautions that I want to bring up is not to swim in swimming pools and lakes with the contacts," said Dr. Tomy Starck with Ultravision San Antonio.

After swimming in a lake with her contact lenses, Priscilla Lin said she thought she just had an abrasion in her eye. But even after seeing an optometrist in Dallas, the pain just wouldn't go away. 

"I didn't think anything of it until the end of October," Lin said. "It just kind of went downhill from there. My eye was just hurting, excruciating pain. It was hurting to blink."

Lin was suffering from Acanthamoeba keratitis, a rare disease in which amoeba invade the cornea of the eye.

"So, essentially they (amoeba) get attached to the contact lens when you are swimming, and then it transfers to the cornea through micro-abrasions that normally are there," Starck said. "And that's how they get into the cornea, and it is devastating."

Lin traveled to San Antonio to see Starck. She had a corneal transplant in January and now she's doing much better.

"It's crazy if you just look back at the pictures," Lin said. "It was a freak thing. I never thought it would happen to me, and it was really, really miserable."

Starck said using with goggles with contact lenses is still not a good idea due to the risk of water getting into the goggles.


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