An Oregon woman who had worms coming out of her eye is the first known human case of a parasitic infection spread by flies.
The 26-year-old woman had fourteen worms removed from her left eye in 2016. Scientists reported the case Monday.
The woman, Abby Beckley, was diagnosed in with Thelazia gulosa. It is a type of eye worm previously only seen in cattle in the northern United States and southern Canada.
The worms are spread by “face flies.” The flies feed on the tears that lubricate the eyeball. After a week of eye irritation, Beckley pulled a worm from her eye. She went to the doctor but ended up removing most of the worms herself during the following few weeks. The worms were translucent and each less than half an inch long.
The report was published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.