OREGON, NNC - A woman from Oregon has become the first person in the world known to have eye infestation by small worm species previously seen only in livestock.
Her name is Abbey Beckley (28) who was at work and felt something behind her eyelids for two weeks. She tried to dig up what she thought was an eyelash, but instead she found inflamed skin and writhing worms.
Confused, she finally went to an eye doctor and took out four more worms. Finally, she was referred to an eye specialist in Portland, who sent a sample to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and concluded that there were Thelazia gulosa in her eyes, parasites spread by flies that never before seen in humans.
"My left eye was really irritated and red, and my eyelids were cloudy, I also had migraines, and I was confused to what was going on," Beckley said, as quoted by Daily Mail, Tuesday (2/13/2018).
She finally found a mirror, lifted her eyelids and was stunned to find the worms. "I pulled the bottom of my eyes and realized that my skin looked so weird, so I put my fingers in and squeezed out a worm, I was shocked and the worm died quickly," Beckley explained.
In total there were 14 Thelazia gulosa worms in the eye. The worm's own length was less than half an inch. This type of Thelazia worm was previously only seen in livestock throughout the northern United States and southern Canada, the researchers reported in a study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
They say the study indicates that North Americans may be more vulnerable than previously understood to the infection. If the worms remain in someone's eyes for a long time, they can cause corneal scars and even blindness, according to the researchers.