‘Eye’ Can’t Look: 4 Eyeball Injuries That Will Make You Squirm

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‘Eye’ Can’t Look: 4 Eyeball Injuries That Will Make You Squirm


Injuries to eyeballs might make you want to squirm and cover your eyes, but these icky accidents and odd occurrences can also be illuminating.

Read on for a peek at some of the most interesting and unusual eyeball incidents that Live Science has covered over the years.

Squirming coil

What one man in India thought was an odd shadow in his left eye turned out to be a live worm wriggling around.

Doctors were able to remove the slender worm, which they later identified as the parasite Loa loa, according to a report of the man’s case, published in January 2016 in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

In the report, the critter was described as “a fairly long live worm moving around in a haphazard manner through the vitreous cavity,” which is located toward the back of the eye, behind the lens and in front of the retina.

The man’s job as a fruit vendor may have made him more susceptible to infection, as the parasite can be transmitted by fruit flies, the report said.

Split open and melt

A 61-year-old woman experienced a strange side effect of her rheumatoid arthritis: a condition called “corneal melt,” according to a 2014 report of the woman’s case published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The condition occurs when a person’s immune system attacks the area of the eye next to the cornea, tearing the ocular tissue and allowing the iris, which sits behind the cornea, to “slip” out. (The cornea is the transparent layer of the eye that sits on top of the iris and the pupil.)

In the woman’s case, both of her eyes were affected — a very rare occurrence, experts say.

Doctors can attempt to repair the eyes surgically, but that won’t prevent the condition from happening again, according to theAmerican Academy of Ophthalmology.

“Protruding” feature

Doctors in China spotted an odd feature in a woman’s eyes: a raised, rippled ring of tissue encircling the irises of both eyes.

The ring, called a “protruding iris collarette,” isn’t actually linked to any vision problems. Instead, it’s a variation of a normally flat part of the eye called the iris collarette. In the woman’s case, the doctors found that her eyes were healthy and her vision was normal, according to the report of the woman’s case, published in March 2017 in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Although the protruding features in this woman’s case were particularly pronounced, the condition isn’t as rare as it may seem, Dr. Andrea Thau, the former president of the American Optometric Association, who was not involved in the case report, told Live Science in March 2017. Generally, the raised ring of tissue isn’t as prominent as the one seen in this case, Thau said.

Limited diet leads to boy’s vision loss

A highly restrictive diet that was limited to potatoes, pork, lamb, apples, cucumbers and Cheerios led to an 11-year-old boy’s severe vision loss, according to a report of the boy’s case.

None of those foods is a good source of vitamin A, and indeed, when doctors tested the boy’s blood to measure levels of the vitamin, they found that he was severely deficient in vitamin A, according to the report, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics in October 2017.

Vitamin A is essential for vision because it helps certain cells in the eyes function properly. Without enough of the vitamin, a person can develop severely dry eyes and a buildup of material on the outer covering of the eyes. Vitamin A deficiency can also lead to problems in the retina, which is home to light-sensing cells that make vision possible.

To treat the vitamin deficiency, doctors gave the boy “megadoses” of vitamin A intravenously. The appearance of his eyes improved significantly, but his vision may be permanently damaged, according to the report.


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