Doctors at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital saved a woman’s sight after an insect flew into her eye.
Charlynne Boddie was on holiday in Cornwall when the bug flew into her left eye as she was walking along a beach.
Over the coming days her eye became increasingly painful and when she visited her GP, he sent her for immediate treatment at the QA.
The 49-year-old said: “I began to panic and worried about what it could be. My assistant sped me off to QA. I was seen quickly as my doctor had already called ahead and was met by a lovely doctor, who gave me some steroids and drops to try and clean the eye out, but it wasn’t that easy.
“I woke up a couple of days later with awful pain in both of my eyes.”
Ms Boddie returned to the hospital where doctors found that a tiny abrasion, caused by the insect coming into contact with the eye underneath her contact lens, had become infected and caused an ulcer which spread to her right eye.
Ms Boddie said: “For each ulcer, I was prescribed a unique cocktail of medicine to try and cure the different infections I had.
“It was a very hard time for me, and any light caused excruciating pain so I was living in the dark.”
The doctors found that Ms Boddie’s eyes were rejecting the treatment and it took another change in medication to cure the ulcers.
Ms Boddie, originally from Denver, Colorado and now living in Selsey, West Sussex, said: “Three days later I felt like a new person. My sight started to come back, my eyes were no longer light-sensitive.
“I’m so grateful that the right team caught the problem at the right time. If it wasn’t for the team at QA I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. I travel all over the world so my sight is extremely important - I’ll never take it for granted again.
“If it wasn’t for the eye team at QA Hospital, I would have lost my sight.”
Keith Malcolm, senior clinical manager at QA hospital’s eye department, said: “Most people would probably be astounded to know that something as seemingly innocuous as a bug flying into your eye can cause blindness.
“It is uncommon for an insect to cause so much damage but it certainly can happen. The insect would have got stuck behind the contact lens and then rubbed between the lens and Charlynne’s eye, causing a small abrasion.
“These scratches would have then got infected, which can then lead to ulcers. This infection can also spread between a person’s eyes. It’s just as well Charlynne came in when she did, otherwise she could have lost her sight completely.”