Worm in a young patient's eye: Parasite caused permanent visual damage

Worm in a young patient's eye: Parasite caused permanent visual damage

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Living worm in a boy's eye caused permanent visual damage
A doctor discovered a living worm in a boy's eye. The worm had already damaged the young patient's eye so severely that he still suffers from vision problems six months after the operation. It is still unknown how the parasite got into the patient's eye. In medicine, however, there are always reports of isolated cases.

Increasing eye pain and decreasing eyesight
A 17-year-old teenager from a rural region in Mexico had been suffering from severe pain in the right eye for around three weeks when he went to the capital for treatment in a hospital. As reported on the Internet portal "Live Science", not only had eye pain increased, but eyesight also decreased significantly. The doctors quickly found the cause of the complaints: a parasitic worm had nestled in the eye of the adolescent.

The patient could see little
According to the doctors, who also report on the case in the New England Journal of Medicine, the boy could hardly see anything with his right eye when he arrived at the clinic.

"He couldn't even see our fingers," which were only held about 30 centimeters from his face, explained lead author Dr. Pablo Guzman-Salas, who treated the patient.

According to the information, the teenager could only see hand movements with his right eye - the eyesight of the left eye was not impaired.

Worm caused severe eye damage
During the first examinations, the doctors found that the parasite had caused serious damage to the boy's eye. The teenager's right cornea was swollen and speckled with blood, and there were several holes in his iris.

The intraocular pressure was also greatly increased.

All because the worm was "free in the eye," as Guzman-Salas told Live Science. According to him, the parasite was difficult to see because it dipped into these holes.

When the doctors surgically removed the worm, it was shown that it had also caused considerable damage to the retina.

Parasite does not usually infect eyes
The worm, which the report said had to be removed in several pieces, was about three millimeters long and one millimeter wide. It is a suction worm (Trematoda), but the doctors could not commit to a specific genus and species.

Guzman-Salas said that he had never seen a case like this before. "It is not common for trematodes to infect eyes, it is unusual for any type of worm to infect eyes," said the expert.

However, in "very, very rare" cases, there are reports of other types of parasitic worms that infect the eyes.

Such a case caused a sensation on the Internet last year. At that time, a video was published showing a woman living with a living worm in her eye.

Permanent visual damage
According to health experts, many trematode infections occur when the parasites are ingested through food and then remain in a person's gut.

No evidence of the parasite was found in the digestive tract of the patient in Mexico. It remains unclear to the doctors how the worm got into the boy's eye.

In addition to the operation, the adolescent was also treated with medication. But even six months after the worm was removed, the teenager's eyesight did not improve. (ad)

Author and source information

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