14 worms pulled from woman’s eye after rare infection

An Oregon woman who had worms coming out of her eye is being called the first known human case of a parasitic infection spread by flies.

Fourteen tiny worms were removed from the left eye of the 26-year-old woman in August 2016.

The woman, Abby Beckley, was diagnosed in August 2016 with Thelazia gulosa. That’s a type of eye worm seen in cattle in the northern United States and southern Canada, but never before in humans.

They are spread by a type of fly known as “face flies.” The flies feed on the tears that lubricate the eyeball, scientists said.

She had been horseback riding and fishing in Gold Beach, Oregon, a coastal, cattle-farming area.

After a week of eye irritation, Beckley pulled a worm from her eye. She visited doctors, but removed most of the additional worms herself during the following few weeks.

The worms were translucent and each less than half an inch long.

After they were removed, no more worms were found and she had no additional symptoms.

 

The report was published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

 

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