People put glitter on everything. Their beards, their armpit hair, on top of their head— I mean glitter was the thing.
In addition to just looking stupid and sparkly-dirty, it turns out that glitter can prove hazardous to your health as well.
Just ask this woman who lost an eye caused by a tiny speck of the stuff.
Erica Diaz was helping her daughter clean up an art project for school which employed the use of the sparkly substance (like most school projects). A small piece of glitter got stuck in her eye and managed to rupture her cornea. The rupture led to an infection, which led to surgery, medical treatment, and the inevitable removal of her eyeball. She now has to wear a prosthetic.
Before we go down this road, I just want to give you a heads up that the images below are hella graphic. So if you’re sensitive to this kinda stuff, turn away.
Diaz documented her illness on Imgur, sharing the unfortunate degeneration of her eye.
So that’s pus coming out of her very messed up eye.
Then she needed to get a biopsy done: “A pocket of pus exploded and leaked all over my face and hair.”
Then Diaz needed a cornea transplant: “Had surgery to transplant the cornea today. It doesn’t prevent it from dimpling.”
This happy little procedure is known as cross-corneal linking. This isn’t a photo of her eye, but of what that surgery looks like.
Diaz explained what it does in her post: “It’s meant to strengthen the collagen in all of the areas that the glitter and subsequent swelling has fucked it up and made it thin. It should also help the eyeball to not explode — which is good.”
It turns out, unfortunately, that her surgery had “complications.”
Surgery was “intense and had complications.” Meaning I woke up. Twice. It was supposed to be a twilight sedation thing. Nope. Sedative wore off about half way through and I woke up screaming and in a panic cause HEY I CAN FEEL YOU SLICING MY EYE. More drugs did nothing. Ended up being put completely under. Woke up from that as well. Didn’t panic, just told them I was awake. Anesthetia was super nice and calmed me down and told me My heart rate was burning through all his good drugs. More drugs. Didn’t knock me out, but close enough to get the job done.
To add insult to injury, the drops used in the surgery ended up melting her air, eyelashes, and eyebrows.
Poor Diaz still couldn’t catch a break, however. During her second cornea transplant she woke up AGAIN. And found out why her eye wouldn’t heal.
So what was the culprit? Eye fungus.
“Aggressive fungus as introduced by foreign body.” The glitter went bouncing through my eye jelly leaving a million cuts and introducing a fungus. The fungus latched on to the warm dark environment on the inside of my eyeball and just started making itself right at home like there wasn’t already a bunch of established stuff happening in there. It Christopher Columbused my eye. so we have an answer, now we know how to treat! No we don’t. I’m allergic to the medication that would normally be used to treat this, so we are adding 2 more meds (that my insurance isn’t paying for) and giving it about a week. If shit is not improving in that week, the bitch gotta go. So long as the infection is contained within the eye then I’m ok. Blind, in pain and pissy … but ok. If the fungus takes the optic nerve and travels to the brain then I’m fucked, so if there’s even a tiny babyfart of a whisper that it’s going that way, then back to surgery I go to remove the eye. So on the off chance that I die the most imgurian death ever (glitter fungus ate her brain… really… that’s just… you can’t write this shit)
Two weeks went by after the second surgery and…well…just see for yourself.
This is what was going on this pic:
Well, I have managed to force pus and, evidently, my iris, out through the spaces between the stitches. As you can see, the fungus is already re growing and the border of the transplant is pretty clearly visible, which it shouldn’t be at this point. Signs of failure are pretty clear and there is still a big chance that the infection is too bad and I will have to have the whole eye removed. All of this over a stupid little piece of gold glitter.
And then the horrible news: the eye needed to be removed. Science term? A enucleation.
There was just no saving the eye. Two failed cornea transplants, medicinal injections, drops, oral meds, etc. Nothing ever really controlled the infection. My vision was gone gone by the end, not even light sensitive. At my last check up they discovered opportunistic growths in the eyeball and that it was starting to cave in on itself in the back. If this happened, and it ruptured, the fungus would be pushed into my bloodstream and cause systemic sepsis. There was a chance that fucking piece of glitter in my eye could actually kill me. It was time for an enucleation…
Diaz took to the recovery process of her extreme surgery with a sense of humor:
“They are saying I am 6-8 weeks away from having the cosmetic portion of the new eye. Also, once the mold is made for it, I can take that mold and have all kinds of cool eyes made. Eye of Sauron, Terminator Eye, Eye of the Tiger…”
This is what her eye looks like fully healed (sans prosthetic):
Diaz says that it feels like “the inside of a mouth.”
This is what the inside of the eye looks like. There is an internal prosthetic that has muscle tissue pulled over it. The muscles that would normally move the eyeball are now attached to this internal prosthetic. The prosthetic gives some shape, but not a lot. It’s much smaller than the eyeball I was born with. I was given a clear spacer to keep the eyelid off of the inside of the eye so it didn’t heal all fused together.
This is what Diaz looks like with her prosthetic, which looks really, really great.
Although sometimes, her prosthetic doesn’t sync up with the other eye. Yikes.
She has managed to keep a positive attitude about the whole ordeal, however.
I guess a brush with potential glittery death helps you figure out what you really love and what you don’t. Do I think glitter should be banned? No. Just wear goggles and gloves when using it to protect your eyes and keep it from getting stuck under your nails where you risk rubbing it into your eyes accidentally. Fuck glitter bombs, tho.
And a friend of her’s was able to set up a GoFundMe page to help with the cost of her medical bills. She’s already raised $5k.
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