Woman with irritated left eye found to have 10-cm worm beneath conjunctiva

BMJ Case Reports authors have described the case of a patient with a foreign body sensation in her eye caused by a parasite the length of a pencil

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BMJ Case Reports authors have described the case of a woman in her 30s who was found to have a 10cm “slender, whitish nematode” beneath her conjunctiva. 

The patient presented to an ophthalmology clinic in Karnataka, India, with redness, pain and a foreign body sensation in her left eye.

Diffuse conjunctival congestion was observed in her left eye, with a slit lamp examination revealing a whitish worm-shaped mass beneath the superior bulbar conjunctiva.

Using higher magnification, the clinicians observed that the mass was slowly moving.

Surgery was performed to remove the worm from the conjunctival sac, using aseptic precautions and topical anaesthesia.

Microbiological examination of the worm determined that it was a 10cm long Dirofilaria repens nematode.

The patient was treated topical antibiotics and steroids six time daily for a week, with her symptoms completely resolving during this time.

The authors shared that the infection is transmitted by mosquito from carnivorous animals like dogs and cats.

“Ocular parasitosis should always be considered, particularly in tropical countries as well as in regions that are endemic to mosquito-borne diseases. Timely intervention in the form of simple surgical excision can cure the disease,” they shared.