Girl didn't take care of her contacts, parasite burrowed into her eye

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Teen Kept Awake For A Week To Stop Eye Eating Parasite

A British teenager was kept awake for a full week in order to stop a parasite from eating its way into her eye.

18-year-old University of Nottingham freshman Jessica Greaney was told by doctors that she had a worm-like parasite in her left eye after she splashed tap water onto a contact lens. Initially she thought the discomfort in her eye was just an infection, and doctors misdiagnosed it as an ulcer.

"But, by the end of the week, my eye was bulging, and it looked like a huge red golf ball," Greaney said. "It was swollen, and extremely painful, and they admitted me into hospital."

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As it turns out, it was acanthamoeba keratitis -- a parasite that burrows into the cornea and can cause blindness. In extreme cases, it can eat its way to the spinal cord and cause paralysis or even death.

For the next week, Greaney was forced to stay awake so doctors could administer eye drops every ten minutes.

"They had to keep me awake for a week," she told the student paper The Tab. "It was torture -- she had to hold my eye open and squirt a few droplets in. Even if I had managed to nod off, I could only get a couple of minutes' sleep before I was woken again."

Greaney is still required to continue using eye drops 21 times a day.

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