14 worms pulled from woman's eye after rare infection


A woman who pulled 14 worms out of her eye has told The Project about her gruesome experience.

This is what happened to Abby Beckley, a 28-year-old OR woman whose medical drama began when she began experiencing eye irritation in the summer of 2016.

The woman's case, reported in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene yesterday, began in the summer of 2015 in the USA, soon after she returned home from a ranch in Gold Beach, Oregon, where she had been horseback riding.

The animals had only been seen in cattle in the northern US and southern Canada.

She was from the city of Gold Beach, located on Oregon's coast along the Pacific Ocean about 65km north of the California border.

The Portland Tribune reports in the span of a few weeks, Beckley pulled 14 of the tiny worms from her left eye.

After urgent care clinicians pulled out two more worms and an ophthalmologist yanked a further two, Beckley became increasingly alarmed. "You know how it feels when you have an eyelash in your eye?" At first, they didn't believe her.

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Previous cases of such eye worm infections have been reported worldwide, predominantly in Europe and Asia and in rural communities with close proximity to animals and with poor living standards, the researchers said.

Most infections do clear up with no lingering consequences once they're removed, but sometimes the worms can scuttle across the cornea, causing scarring and even blindness. "And Beckley hadn't", Bonura says. They suspected it was an eye worm and recommended Beckley keep flushing them out pending a final identification. Right away, parasitologist Richard Bradbury and his team at the Parasitic Diseases Branch went to work, trying to figure out what they were.

It was only when Bradbury was preparing to write up the case months later that he and colleagues noticed some of the worms' features, such as the position of the genitalia and the shape of the mouth, looked unusual. "The fly vomited the worms into her eye".

Thelazia worms are spread by species of flies that look pretty much like your typical house fly. "The life cycle of this worm is wonderful", Bradbury says. When she found the first worm, she remembers searching the Internet and finding no information.

"I am the first, the very first case of this type of type, this species of worm in a human eye", Beckley said.

"If this does happen to anyone else, I want them to know this girl went through it, and she's fine", she said.