We all have those days where we have to pull out a stubborn eyelash or a piece of lint from our eyes. But imagine if you were pulling out an actual worm. Well, that's what happened to Abby Beckley of Grants Pass, Oregon, who pulled out the translucent worm. This happened not once, but a total of 14 times, CNN reports.
Yes, there were worms in her eyeball (cringe). "I looked at it, and it was moving," Beckley recalled as she examined her eye in the mirror of her Alaskan fishing boat. "And then it died within about five seconds. My left eye just got really irritated and red, and my eyelid was droopy. I was getting migraines too, and I was like, 'What is going on?'" She then showed it to her crewmate, because you definitely need witnesses when it comes to unbelievable things like this.
After returning home, Beckley booked an appointment at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. The doctors were skeptical at first, but soon found more worms in her eye. She was officially infected with Thelazia gulosa, a parasite that usually breeds on cow eyeballs. The bizarre incident occurred in August 2016 and was recently reported as a case for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which made Beckley the first human to be infected by a type of eye worm previously seen only in cattle. It made sense, as she grew up around cattle and horses, as well as frequently visited friends' ranches.
"This is only the 11th time a person has been infected by eye worms in North America," explained lead author Richard Bradbury, the team lead for the CDC's Parasite Diagnostics and Biology Laboratory. "But what was really exciting it that it is a new species that has never infected people before. It's a cattle worm that somehow jumped into a human."
Beckley was not treated with anti-parasitic medicine because doctors were worried that a dead worm could get stuck in her eye, which could possibly cause scarring. But she has not discovered any more worms since the 2016 incident. But let this story be a fair warning to you the next time your eye unexpectedly begins to itch.