Selsey minister nearly blinded by insect


An ordained minister suffered ‘excruciating pain’ – and was nearly blinded – after a insect infected her left eye.

Charlynne Boddie, 49, of Selsey, said the bug flew into her eye when she was holiday but when she got back her eye became increasing painful and started watering.

“It’s just as well Charlynne came in when she did, otherwise she could have lost her sight completely.

Keith Malcolm, senior clinical manager at Queen Alexandra Hospital eye department

“I was in so much pain, which I could only think was the result of getting some mascara in my eye,” said Charlynne.

“I only saw the doctor to get some eye drops so I could clean it out.”

However her GP advised her to visit the Eye Department at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, for immediate treatment.

“I began to panic and worried about what it could be,” she said.

“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.”

Charlynne returned to the Eye Department and was told that a tiny abrasion, caused by the insect coming into contact with her eye underneath her contact lenses, had become infected and caused an ulcer.

The infection in her left eye had also spread, in just a few days, causing two ulcers in her right eye.

Charlynne said: “I was seen by consultant Rakesh Jayaswal, who was fantastic. He assured me that they were going to find out what was causing the multiplying ulcers.

“It was a very hard time for me, and any light caused excruciating pain so I was living in the dark.

“When I got home that evening I received a call from my director in America who was worried about me.

“My family all live in the States so it was my amazing friends in the UK that supported me through this tough time.”

Charlynne was monitored by medics, and consultant Mr Jayaswal soon discovered that her eyes were actually rejecting the treatment, and changed the prescription.

She 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.”

Charlynne is originally from Denver, Colorado, and said that if it wasn’t for Mr Rayaswal, Dr Katie Sellens and the team, then she wouldn’t have seen her hometown team win their third NFL Superbowl this month.

“It’s so wonderful being able to see 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.

“Eyes are delicate so it’s important to look after them properly.

“There is so much bacteria on foreign objects that one scratch to the retina or surrounding areas can lead to serious health complications – just like Charlynne’s.

“The scratch to Charlynne’s eye would have become infected by the insect as it flies all over the place, landing in a variety of areas, most of which would be highly unclean.

“By rubbing her eyes, or even using the same tissue to wipe away the odd tear, Charlynne likely spread the infection to her other eye, which cause the multiple ulcers.”