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Stomach-churning 'worm' found in woman's eye

A woman has brought home an unwanted souvenir from her working holiday.

The 36-year-old presented at a hospital in Germany with a “moving wormlike” creature trapped behind her eyelid, according to her case in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The woman had travelled to the Central African Republic for work as an anthropologist.

A Loa loa worm seen in a 36-year-old woman's eye.
A woman contracted this eye worm after working in Central Africa. Source: New England Journal of Medicine

Doctors performed a number of tests on the woman and determined she had Loa loa with a diagnosis of loiasis made.

Loa loa, also known as the “eye worm”, are native to Central Africa and are normally transferred via the deer fly. They are a type of parasite and can produce inflammatory swelling which in the worm’s case is often referred to as a Calabar swelling.

The woman was given a 20-day course of medication including anti-inflammatories.

She had no issues with her treatment and six months afterwards was fine.

Parasitic worms can get in people’s eyes, particularly if they work around livestock as one woman from Oregon learned in 2016.

Abby Beckley had 14 removed from her eyelids after contracting Thelazia gulosa eye worms.

She had spent time horseback riding and fishing, and that is believed to be how she caught them.

"I'll never forget the look on the intern's face when he saw one squiggle across my eye," she said on visiting the ophthalmologist.

Ms Beckley’s worms were different to the German woman’s though and can be found in cattle, horses, dogs and water buffaloes.

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