Science & Tech

Man contracts flesh-eating parasite and goes blind in one eye after taking a quick nap

I took a quick nap — and a flesh-eating parasite left me …

A man who took a quick nap, with his contact lenses in, causing him to go blind in one eye, thanks to a rate infection from a flesh-eating parasite.

Mike Krumholz had a brief 40-minute sleep in December last year, and his kip resulted in his right eye being irritated and inflamed.

As a contact wearer for seven years, Krumholz didn't think they was anything wrong at first.

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“My contacts just felt really irritated like they were floating in my eye,” the 21-year-old college student from Florida, told the Daily Star.

“I took them out and there was nothing wrong."

But the irritation persisted and so Krumholz visited the optometrist the next day (and later seven other medical professionals) where on each occasion he was misdiagnosed with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1).

Krumholz was still having problems with his eye as it was irritated and causing blurred vision. It wasn't until a month later that he received the correct diagnosis at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of acanthamoeba keratitis - a rare flesh-eating parasite that can lead to permanent visual impairment or blindness.


Replying to @keepitupboss little update on how it looks right now @mrbeast hasn’t answered ): #acanthamoebakeratitis #fyp #eyes #miami #opthalmologist

The incidence of the disease in developed countries is approximately one in 33 million cases in contact lens wearers, according to the CDC, hence why Krumholz was initially misdiagnosed.

It turned out the antibiotics and then steroids he was prescribed for herpes simplex virus type 1 was actually causing it to speed up the rate at which the parasite was spreading.

Krumholz has described the extreme pain he experienced due to the infection.

“I could not explain one pain like this in my life,” he said. “It’s like a constant shock, it’s a constant pain. I’m pretty proud of my pain tolerance but I have been screaming in pain. I wish that I was exaggerating."

Since his correct diagnosis, Krumholz has undergone photodynamic therapy with conjunctival flap surgery where surgeons take the 'white' of Mike's eye and put it over his pupil in a bid to fight off the parasite.

At the moment, Krumholz has no vision in his right eye except for “black and grey flashing”, which he says is similar to the static of a TV.

He has also had to remain in darkness for over 50 days since he got the infection.

"In my bedroom I have the hurricane shutters up and all the lights blacked out," adding how it's "very weird not being able to see people," as well as not living the life of a typical 21-year-old at college.

Krumholz is also not currently eligible for an eye transplant because of his age and health.

“My eye is too inflamed to take human tissue from another eye, my body wouldn’t accept it right now and I would need another transplant so it would just keep getting worse and worse,” he explained.

“But the transplant, if I’m ever eligible for it, it will hopefully give me at least 50 per cent or something so that I’ll be able to see a little bit.”

Krumholz has since taken to TikTok to share his health journey, providing updates on his condition and warning people against sleeping with their contacts him

“There’s a lot of people that wear contacts right now who have said, ‘Hey I’ve just slept in my contacts, should I go to the doctor?'” he said, speaking from experience.

“I’m trying to get the word out there that is issues with it,” he said. “It’s not ok now."

Symptoms of acanthamoeba keratitis to look out for, as per CDC include: eye pain, eye redness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, a sensation of something in the eye and excessive tearing.

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