Parasite in Eyeball Nearly Blinds Florida Teen

March 28, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

A teenage girl nearly went blind after she suffered an eye infection after a parasite grew on a contaminated contact lens.

Ashley Hyde, of the South Florida town of Pembroke Pines, underwent a surgical procedure recently after the parasite began eating through her cornea. 

Doctors found that the 18-year-old high school senior had an acanthamoeba infection.

“They did multiple cultures where they scrape your eye,” Hyde told Local 10. “One time, they had to drill into my eye. It was really nasty.”

Hyde was told by doctors that she needs to go through months of treatment now.  

“Every day, we see people come in with contact lens related to infections, complications, ulcers,” Dr. Adam Clarin, an optometric physician, told the station. “There are all things that are potentially blinding.”

“There is nothing safer or healthier than throwing out the lens every day and starting with a new one the next day,” Clarin added.

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The Centers for Disease Control says that acanthamoeba is a microscopic amoeba that can “cause rare, but severe infections of the eye, skin, and central nervous system,” which can spread to the eyes via contact lenses, cuts, being inhaled through the lungs, or via skin wounds.

“Most people will be exposed to Acanthamoeba during their lifetime, but very few will become sick from this exposure,” the CDC adds.