In the Dec. 3 episode of Animal Planet’s "Monsters Inside Me," the show follows a college student whose eye became infected with a parasite after she slept with her contacts in.
Melanie, an Iowa college student, complained of light sensitivity and pain to her ophthalmologist, who then discovered that a rare parasite was eating her eye.
“What makes the Acanthamoeba parasite so dangerous is their ability to burrow deep into the tissue of the eyeball,” biologist Dan Riskin says in a clip obtained by People magazine. “Once there, they can be hard to remove or even treat, which allows the parasites to feed on the host’s cells unchecked.”
Melanie then returned to school and started a regime of using an eye solution every hour for four days. Her doctor likened the solution to professional pool cleaner.
“When I put the eye drops in, the pain it caused was just intense burning,” Melanie says. “It was an uphill battle, knowing at the top of the next hour you were going to have to do it again and having to set my alarm clock and get up all hours of the night. Just a continuous cycle of pain.”
Then one morning, Melanie woke up and discovered that her entire eyeball was white.
"It made me look possessed, and I was starting to lose my eyesight," she says. "The parasite was completely taking over."
Melanie's full story will be told in the Dec. 3 episode of "Monsters Inside Me."