Maybe you've read the story about Abby Beckley, the 28-year-old Grants Pass, Ore. woman who became the first human documented as infected with cattle eye worms—pulling 14 of the squiggly translucent parasites from her eye over the course of 20 days.
The story has likely left you quivering in fear, rubbing at your eyes and wondering: Could I have that too?
If you are trying to figure out if you are the second human documented as infected with cattle eye worms, please consult this comprehensive guide, titled "Could I Have Eye Worms?"
Could I Have Eye Worms?
Ask yourself these seven simple questions:
1. Have I traveled to a cattle farm in rural Oregon, gone horseback riding or interacted with pigs, goats, sheep or wild carnivores in the past month? (If yes, continue to question 2.)
2. Did any flies landed on or near my eyes? (If yes, continue to question 3.)
3. Is my eyelid now drooping, red and irritated? (If yes, continue to question 4.)
4. If I pull my eyelid back, do I find a small colony of translucent bumps that could or could not be parasite larvae? (If yes, continue to question 5.)
5. Is my local doctor, whom I have visited, unable to diagnose what's causing my droopy, infested eyeball? (If yes, continue to question 6.)
6. Is my vision clouded by small wriggling motions? (If yes, continue to question 7.)
7. If I mimic pulling an eyelash from my eye, do I instead pluck out a clear squirming thing? (If yes, then ring up the Centers for Disease Control, because you are the second person ever to contract cattle eye worms!)
Did you answer 'yes' to every question? We're sorry about that. It's bad news, obviously. It means you are now confronted with a realization similar to Beckley's: "Oh shit, there are hella worms in my eyes!"
But fear not. Doctors at Oregon Health & Science University have now successfully treated the one other case.
The bad news is you probably won't be prescribed anything to actually kill the worms—because they might remain stuck and scar your eye. But if you keep pulling out the live ones as they swim into your vision, you should be able to extract them all in about a month.
Just don't leave them to breed—the cattle worms feed on the proteins in tears (yes, they FEED ON YOUR TEARS) and can live and reproduce for nearly three years, continually reproducing.
So you'll want to be vigilant. But probably you answered "no" to one of the seven questions in our comprehensive guide, titled "Could I Have Eye Worms?" In that case, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Your eyes are safe.