14 rare wiggly worms were recently pulled from a women’s eye — previously the worms had only ever been found in cattle. At first, 28-year-old Abby Beckley thought she had a stray eyelash that caused her left eye to become irritated. Instead, she pulled out a roughly half-inch long translucent worm.
“She was worried they would crawl into her brain.” Treating Physician Erin Bonura stated in the Washington Post.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the species of eye worm was Thelazia Gulosa.
“We never expected to see this particular species in a human.” Medical Parasitologist Richard Bradbury told the Washington Post.
The Oregon women had a total of 14 worms pulled for her eye. The worms are transmitted by flies and Backley said it’s possible a fly landed on her eye and infected her while she walked through cattle fields in Oregon.
There have been 10 other cases of eye worm infections in the U.S. but they didn’t involve the species that infected Beckley — so she technically made medical history and is part of the CDC’s official Thelazia page. An expert says this shows the risk of “things moving across” when humans, animals and the environment intersect.