Worms removed from eye of OR woman

MILAN ITALY- FEBRUARY 25 A model is seen backstage ahead of the Alberta Ferretti show during the Milan Fashion Week Autumn  Winter 2015

It's a medical discovery you'd hate to be part of: A 26-year-old OR woman is believed to be the first human ever reported to be infected with a certain species of eye worm.

She found the first worm in her eye in August of 2016, while she was on a fishing trip in Alaska. They said the study indicates that North Americans may be more vulnerable than previously understood to such infections.

Beckley says while her eyes are fine now, at the time she was in a panic, since there's little documentation of people having worms in their eyes.

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

The doctors believe she may have contracted the worms while practising horseback riding in a region of OR where cattle farming is common.

Doctor tried tweezer-like forceps as well as irrigating the infected eye to remove the worms, but only managed to remove a portion of one worm. Instead, it was the cattle eye worm, known as Thelazia gulosa.

Thelazia gulosa in situ on the surface of a patient’s conjunctiva

Beckley, was diagnosed in August 2016 with Thelazia gulosa.

After a week of eye irritation, Beckley pulled a worm from her eye. "It was only after we looked more carefully that we realised some differences in anatomy that meant it could not be T. californiensis". They are transmitted by different types of flies. These tiny worms nestle in an animal's eyes, mature, meet up to do the dirty deed, then lay larvae that are sucked in again by flies.

Human Thelazia eye infections are definitely rare, but cattle fall victim to these worms pretty regularly.

After they were removed, no more worms were found and she had no additional symptoms. Thankfully, Beckley is no worse for the wear.

"Dr Bonura was so willing to just talk with me and was really empathetic to what I was going through as the person who had this thing in her eye".

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