This is a real-life horror story, butwithout monsters or creepy murders. About two months ago, I got thescare of my life when I was hospitalized with a cornea ulcer. What theheck is that? you ask, and that’s a good question.
Yourcornea is the top layer of your eye, a thin, smooth, transparent filmthat reflects light into your pupil allowing you to see. An ulcer issimilar to a blister, and is usually caused by bacteria. So, in short, acornea ulcer is a blister on the surface of your eye. Not only does thatsound disgusting, it looks gross, too. When I went to the hospital, Ihad no vision in my left eye and needed two types of eye drops every 30minutes.
By now you’re probably thinking, Wow, that soundsserious. You probably need to do something really stupid to get aninfection like that. Well, don’t be so sure. It is more commonthan you think and is caused by bacteria infiltrating the eye.People who wear soft contact lenses will love to know that inadequatecare of your lenses will help this bacteria build up, which is probablyhow I got it.
See, normally when bacteria enters your eye, tearswill form and your eye will flush it out. But if you’re wearingcontacts, it can be absorbed by the lens and stay in your eye to wreakits havoc.
As you can see, getting a cornea ulcer is possible,and trust me, it’s not fun. I spent four days in the hospitalbeing monitored, receiving drops twice an hour and getting no sleep atall. Once home, I had to see a doctor every day for the next two weeks.My drops were reduced to hourly, but I still didn’t sleep.Eventually my drops were decreased, but there was still little progress.
Two weeks after my hospitalization, I had about 20/200 vision(meaning I could only see that big letter “E” on the chart).The problem was that the blister had popped and left tissue covering thesurface of my eye. So, I had it surgically removed. I hope youdidn’t eat right before reading this. After that, I beganrecovering quickly. Now, two weeks after surgery, my vision is about20/60.
I haven’t been able to play sports for a month, andI’m just returning to work. Although I’m well on the road to recovery, it doesn’t mean my eye will be okay. Because ofthe infection, my cornea, which should be smooth, is bumpy. It may becorrectable with a hard contact lens, but notice I said, “maybe.” If it’s not, then I’ll have to have a corneatransplant. I don’t know about you, but this is definitely a lotscarier than any horror movie I’ve ever seen.
So, kids,clean those contacts, and realize this could happen to you.Early signs include a yellow-green discharge, loss of vision, a whiteblister-like mass covering the surface of your eye and sensitivity tolight.
So, next time you let some silly horror movie scare you,imagine what it’s like being 16 and going to a hospital at one inthe morning because you could lose your sight. Scary, huh?
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.