A man suffered a horrific injury after he fell asleep with his contact lenses in and a parasite started eating his eye.
As a WARNING: this article is pretty graphic so if you’re squeamish you might want to sit this one out.
The 21-year-old from Florida was only asleep for around 40 minutes, taking a break from his day at work looking after children.
He’s used to having an eye infection at times, saying that he sometimes gets ‘pink eye’ if he forgets to take his contacts out.
This was completely different, though.
He was diagnosed with acanthamoeba keratitis, which is a flesh-eating parasite that gets into the eyes and starts eating the tissue.
It seriously damaged his right eye, making him unable to work or continue his university studies, as well as leaving him sitting in near-total darkness for more than 50 days since he took the nap on 19 December 2022.
Mike told the Daily Star: "In my bedroom I have the hurricane shutters up and all the lights blacked out.
"It goes from doing all these activities with these kids, playing around and teaching them something to I couldn’t even watch the Super Bowl on my phone - it’s rough.
“My family are great, my mum has been taken time off work but I can’t even hang out in the living room with her. My family have been really supportive financially.
“It’s very very weird not being able to see people.
“You don’t want people to feel bad for you but at the same time you want to be living like a 21-year-old who is in college."
Also, the pain he has endured was horrible.
“I could not explain one pain like this in my life," Mike explained.
"The pain is more from the back of my eye, all the way up [from the back of my head] and goes down [to the front].
“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.
"The first two weeks I was diagnosed with this, there is no pain like it at all.
"I wish that I was exaggerating."
It’s seriously rare, too.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the parasite affects one in 33 million contact lens wearers in ‘developed countries’ - their words, not ours - but is usually mistaken for something more common.
It took Mike a month of seeing different doctors to get a correct diagnosis.
On the day itself, he said: “I went to work and after that I took a 40 to 45 minute nap.
"My contacts just felt really irritated like they were floating in my eye. I took them out and there was nothing wrong.
"So, the next morning I woke up, I went to play baseball and I had to take my contacts out like right away.
"I told my parents ‘I gotta go to the eye doctor, something isn’t right’.
"I thought I had pink eye or something and he [the doctor] took a picture of the back of my eye after dilating - and he was like something is not right."
Now, it isn’t looking good for his vision.
He might even need an eye transplant, once he’s eligible for that surgery.
Mike continued: “They said that I’m not eligible right now for an eye transplant because I‘m 21-years-old so I’m younger and my body wouldn’t handle it.
"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.
"But the transplant, if I’m ever eligible for it, it will hopefully give me at least 50% or something so that I’ll be able to see a little bit."
Let’s hope that he gets that treatment one day, so at least he can have the best vision possible.
Now, he wants to raise a bit of awareness about not sleeping with contacts in, adding: "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?’
"I used to sleep in my contacts with no issues but I’m trying to get the word out there that is issues with it.
"It’s not ok now."
He’s also trying raise a bit of money to help support him while he recovers.
You can donate to his GoFundMe by following this link.Featured Image Credit: Mike Krumholz