Worms removed from eye of OR woman

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

The woman, Abby Beckley a resident of OR, was diagnosed in August 2016 with Thelazia gulosa - a type of eye worm seen in cattle in northern USA and southern Canada, but never before in humans.

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

This comes after an incident in summer of 2016, when she discovered worms were in her left eye.

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

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"I looked down and on my finger was a worm, and it was squiggling around for five seconds and it died", the woman, Abby Beckley, told KVAL.

"I pulled that worm out and I just was shocked". Doctors there pulled out 13 more, and weren't sure what to do. Beckley then went back home and saw a parade of doctors who each took out their own respective souvenirs.

The other two types of eye worms that infect humans are Thelazia callipaeda, found in Asia, and Thelazia californiensis, found across Asia and Europe. That's a type of eye worm seen in cattle in the northern United States and southern Canada, but never before in humans.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, humans become incidental hosts of the Thelazia gulosa (the cattle eyeworm) when the insect intermediate host feeds on the humans' tears.

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"I am the first, the very first case of this type of type, this species of worm in a human eye", Beckley said. "Now, we have to add Thelazia gulosa, a third one to the list".

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.

It's worth noting that parasitic eye worms are widespread in animals. They can be spread by different kinds of flies.

It's a cattle worm and somehow, Beckley ended up with it inside her eye.

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