Woman pulls wiggling cattle worms from her eyeball, makes medical history

Oregon woman, doctors finds 14 worms in her eye

"But their presence in upstate NY suggests this geographic area is potentially suitable for spreading the eye worms that cause human infections in Europe and Asia". From there, he said they're eaten by the flies, which in turn carry them to other cows; or, in Buckley's singular case, a human.

But doctors tried to put her at ease, explaining that the worms were only on the surface of her eye.

Beckley was determined with Thelazia gulosa.

Of the different types of Thelazia worms, scientists previously believed only two species infected humans.

That worm is found throughout the northern USA and southern Canada, but until now was never found to affect humans.

Abby Beckley from OR has become the first person worldwide known to have had an eye infestation by the worm, that is spread by flies that feed on eyeball lubrication. It's thought that Beckley, who spends much of her time outdoors, picked up the worms while horseback riding and fishing along the coast of OR where cattle are common. She had recently started work on a fishing boat in Alaska when her eye first began to feel irritated, as if there was an eye lash she couldn't remove.

"I looked at my finger and it was moving and I was shocked".

The woman went to a local doctor, who pulled two more worms from her eye.

"It's a little unsatisfying to ask the patient to just keep pulling out the worms, but that is the best thing to do because if we give her an anti-parasitic agent, the worms would die in there but wouldn't be removed", Bonura explains. Some of them were pretty long, about half the length of a paper clip.

By the time she could see a doctor, Beckley took out four more worms.

Eye worms are found in a variety of animals including dogs, cats and certain wild carnivores. In both cases, it's typically children and the elderly that are infected as they have a harder time keeping flies out of their eyes.

"What was really exciting it that it is a new species that has never infected people before", lead author Richard Bradbury, Team Lead for the Parasitology Reference Diagnostic Laboratory at the CDC's Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, told CNN. But the physicians had no answers for her: They had no idea what kind of worm this was.

A Thelazia gulosa eye worm. She made medical history because of bad luck.

"It was shocking when it happened, and it's just fascinating now", she told the Tribune.

The creature is a type of eye worm found throughout the northern U.S. and southern Canada.

If left in the eye the parasites can migrate across the surface of the eye and cause corneal scarring and even blindness, the report said.

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