More than a dozen fly larvae had to be manually removed from a man’s eye by doctors using forceps.
The 53-year-old patient had gone to a hospital in France, complaining of an itching right eye that had been bothering him for several hours.
The man informed doctors that he had been gardening near a horse and sheep farm earlier in the day when he felt something enter his eye, according to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
An eye exam revealed’more than a dozen mobile, translucent larvae’ wriggling around on his cornea — the clear outer coating of the eye.
They were also discovered inside his conjunctiva, the membrane that lines the eyelids and white areas of the eye. The creatures were identified as Oestrus ovis (commonly known as the sheep bot fly) larvae by the doctors.
These insects are known to create parastic infestations all over the world, and the best guess is that one of them flew into the man’s eye and placed its larvae there.
In any case, the guy was diagnosed with external ophthalmomyiasis, or “an infection of the outer structures of the eye by fly larvae,” as specialists from the University Hospital of Saint-Etienne said in the report.
If that isn’t enough to make you cringe, it looks that the only way to remove them is to physically pluck them out of the eye with forceps.
This is due to the critters’ usage of ‘oral hooks’ to stick to the cornea. And, if left untreated, could result in abrasions that are pretty dangerous.
Fortunately, the doctors were able to remove all of the larvae from the man’s eye, and he was entirely recovered at a follow-up examination 10 days later.
We suppose he’ll be a little more cautious about gardening near that sheep farm in the future. Perhaps he opted to get a pair of gardening goggles.