A man from eastern India has recently undergone some rather eye-watering surgery after doctors found a live worm squiggling in his eyeball.
The patient, 25, went to the doctors after two weeks of pain in his left eye, along with redness and wavey "floaters" in his vision.
It transpired that there was a live worm living in the man’s vitreous cavity – the clear, jelly-like center of the eyeball. The doctors described it as a “fairly long live worm moving around in a haphazard and relentless manner” in a recent online case report published in BMJ Case Reports on January 8.
Doctors decided the only option was to remove the parasite through surgery, as antifilarial drugs could have resulted in a toxic reaction in the eye.
A microbiological examination of the removed worm proved it to be a species called Loa loa.
This parasitic nematode is transmitted to humans via bites from deer flies (also known as mango flies or mangrove flies). This led the doctors to the fairly straightforward conclusion that the man caught the parasite during his work as a fruit vendor in eastern India. After getting bitten by an infected fly, the man's parasite traveled to the eyeball through its blood vessels or by burrowing through its tissue layers, the researchers proposed.
Loa loa are typically found crawling around under the skin, although they can be found in a variety of the body’s tissues, eventually making their way towards the lungs. However, the report said this is first known case of one being found in the vitreous cavity of the eye.
Two weeks after his surgery, the man is reported to have vastly improved vision, no pain and to be free from squiggling lines in his sight.