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Woman Issues Urgent Warning After She Popped Her Eyeball Open While Drying Her Face With A Towel

Woman Issues Urgent Warning After She Popped Her Eyeball Open While Drying Her Face With A Towel

The incident left Claire feeling as though she was "an extra from The Walking Dead".

Lauren Bell

Lauren Bell

When drying your face after a shower with a towel, you really wouldn't think you were in danger of harming yourself, would you?

But it turns out the simple step in your daily routine might be more dangerous than you think, as one woman discovered when she ended up having to have her eye amputated after doing it.

Claire Willis, from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, was on holiday when she rubbed her face dry with a towel and managed to pop her cornea in the process.

She was on the first evening of her annual trip away with husband Tim, getting ready in their room, in preparation to meet friends.

After having a shower to freshen up, Claire was drying herself and suddenly was in a huge amount of pain.

Claire before her cornea perforated. (

She said: "I just felt this pop in my eye, followed by extreme blurry vision and an excruciating amount of pain.

"I thought my eyeball had actually popped out of my socket, that's how painful it was.

"I raced to the mirror and I couldn't see any blood or anything - it just looked red and sore and everything was blurry."

Tim then rushed Claire to hospital, where a doctor informed her she'd perforated her cornea and needed to fly back to the UK.

Within hours, she was on a flight home thanks to the help of her Thomas Cook reps, with a huge bandage over her poorly eye.

The mum of two said: "We didn't get to enjoy any of our holiday before I had my accident.

"My vision had turned cloudy after I felt the pop, but then everything started going dark, and by the time we got to the Turkish hospital, all I could see was blurry lights."

Claire's eye became infected on the flight over to the UK, which is why she needed to have it removed. (

"I was heartbroken when the doctor told me to go back to the UK, but I knew it was for the best.

"My eye was all bandaged up so I could fly, which was mortifying, but I just wanted to get to the hospital and get it all sorted so I could book a replacement holiday."

On arriving home, Claire went straight to Royal Stoke University Hospital where doctors were shocked to see how infected her eye had become during the flight.

Her right eye was fused shut with infection, forcing doctors to clamp her eyelids open to get a look at her eyeball which had turned completely yellow.

Claire spent the next nine days in hospital as doctors tried to fight the infection, but it was no use, and the suggestion of amputation was made.

She said: "I was totally against the idea.

"My dad ended up convincing me to have the eyeball amputated, and although I was devastated at the idea, I was in so much pain that I knew it needed to be done.

While her eye socket recovers, Claire cannot have a prosthetic eye fitted. (

Doctors couldn't save Claire's eyesight, but decided to perform just a partial removal of the eyeball rather than a full one.

She said: "He removed the middle of my eye - the retina and cornea - and fitted a cosmetic shell over the lens of my eye."

An ophthalmologist from Royal Stoke University Hospital said: "This lady had particular circumstances that led to a thinner than normal cornea in her case." The thinner cornea is what made it so easy to damage.

Following surgery, Claire was allowed to return home the next day, but had to keep the bandages on for another week.

It then took her another eight days to finally look at herself in the mirror and when she did, she was horrified.

She said: "I looked like an extra from The Walking Dead."

Claire, 45, struggled to adjust to the idea of living with one real eye for the rest of her life.

She is now battling on to get her life back on track after the trauma of losing her eye, but the adjustment has been difficult.

Claire's husband Tim has been really supportive to help her through her trauma. (

Although she still has her cleaning job for the council, she decided to give up her second cleaning job at a school, because she was struggling mentally and physically.

Claire commented: "I even left my cleaning job at a school because of how it [my eye] looked - I didn't want to scare the kiddies.

"I was having anxiety issues in public, which really isn't like me.

"I had to learn alone how to cope with a half amputated eye - it was sticky on the lids and I was scared to clean it in case I knocked the cosmetic shell out.

"I never hid my eye though. I didn't wear sunglasses, I've just worn my everyday glasses and I know it's not forever, it's only until the prosthetic eye is fitted.

"I just have to wait and stay looking like this until my socket has recovered enough, but I don't know when that will be.

"Tim has been so supportive throughout it all, and our two children, Ben, 22, and Daniel, 20, still live at home so they've been helping me lots around the house.

"I fought my demons, and every day, I pushed myself to go out and slowly but surely, I started feeling more confident."

To make matters worse though, Claire actually rebooked her holiday to Turkey as soon as she was given the all clear to fly and it was once again cancelled.

Tragedy struck when Thomas Cook, who they had booked through, collapsed just five days before the holiday was due to begin.

She said: "All we wanted was to go back on holiday and still try to have some fun this year, and our bags were all packed ready to go when Thomas Cook collapsed.

"It was just yet another thing to go wrong, but I'm trying to stay positive and we're looking for another holiday deal before the year is over."

Claire and Tim have their fingers crossed for a third time lucky.

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: Real, Life, Real Life, Health