The 13th Floor

Can You Watch as a Parasitic Worm is Removed From a Man’s Eye?

Did the photo and/or the headline above make you flinch? Yeah, well… sorry about that. I was about to reach for the eyewash myself after I came across this story. But then my morbid curiosity got the better of me.

Anyhow, here’s the deal: the video below, courtesy of Ophthalmologist Shannon Wong, M.D., shows the doctor performing a surgical procedure on the eye of a man who had become infected with a parasitic nematode worm — known as a Loa Loa — while spending a year in Africa.

Image Credit: Shannon Wong, M.D.
Image Credit: Shannon Wong, M.D.

The infection, known as loiasis or loa loa filariasis, can result from the bite of deer flies — whose digestive systems are often infested with the nematode — transmitting the tiny parasite into skin tissue. Once inside, the worm doesn’t actually go straight for the eyeball; it crawls around everywhere under the skin… but it’s only visible when it crawls across the host’s eye.

The stomach-clenching clip shows the worm wriggling in the patient’s conjunctiva (the thin inner lining of the eyelid) before Dr. Wong makes an incision and tweezes out the hideous micro-monster. If it’s any comfort, the patient did not feel any pain during the procedure.

Ready for this one? Yeah, I doubt it. But play it anyway.

(Yes, Dr. Wong is indeed eating noodles at the beginning of the clip… so at least you gotta appreciate his sense of humor.)