The lenses, which resembled a ‘blueish mass’ in the 67-year-old patient’s eye, were causing the woman discomfort that she simply attributed to dry eye and old age.
The case happened in November last year but has only just been reported in the British Medical Journal.
Rupal Morjaria, a specialist trainee ophthalmologist who dealt with the case at Solihull Hospital near Birmingham, told Optometry Today: ‘None of us have ever seen this before.
‘It was such a large mass. All the 17 contact lenses were stuck together. We were really surprised that the patient didn’t notice it because it would cause quite a lot of irritation while it was sitting there.’
Initially, eye specialists discovered 17 lenses, before a further examination revealed that another 10 lenses were stuck in the eye.
The patient said she had been wearing monthly disposable contact lenses for 35 years but did not attend regular appointments.
As a result of the findings, the woman, who said she was unaware that the lenses were missing, had her operation postponed as the risk of developing endophthalmitis, inflammation of the interior of the eye, was increased.
Ms Morjaria added: ‘She was quite shocked. When she was seen two weeks after I removed the lenses she said her eyes felt a lot more comfortable.’
The woman did not report any symptoms in an assessment prior to surgery.