Abby Beckley was working on an Alaskan fishing boat back in 2016 when she discovered something fishy in her left eye. Actually, it wasn’t fish, it was worms ― 14 of them. The 28-year-old Oregon resident felt a prick under her eyelid and figured it was just a stray lash. But after a week, she decided to see what was causing the irritation. “I put my fingers in there in kind of a picking motion and I pulled out a worm,” Beckley told BuzzFeed. “I looked at my finger and it was moving and I was shocked.”
It gets grosser. She pulled out about six more of the tiny worms over the next few days.
An Oregon woman found herself infected with 14 parasitic worms in her eyeballs. (Photo: CDC via WGN TV)
More Fearing a serious problem, Beckley got in contact with Dr. Erin Bonura, an infectious disease specialist and assistant professor at Oregon Health & Science University. “Her boyfriend’s dad is a physician and he said, ’My son’s girlfriend has worms in her eye. What should we do?’” Bonura told OregonLive.com. Doctors who examined Beckley’s eye weren’t sure what they were seeing. “It’s very uncommon to have worms in the eye,” Bonura said. She consulted with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which identified the worms as Thelazia gulosa, a parasite typically found on cow eyeballs. Richard Bradbury, from Beckley’s eye over a 20-day period. team lead of the Parasitology Reference Diagnostic Laboratory at the CDC’s Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, told CBS News that 14 worms were removed “They weren’t able to remove them all at once. They had to remove them as they became present and visible,” Bradbury said.
All of the worms pulled from Beckley’s eye were
less than a half-inch long. Although the worms cause eye irritation, Bradbury said there’s likely no permanent damage. “It’s just really gross and very psychologically disturbing to see multiple small worms crawling across the surface of your eye,” Bradbury said.
Doctors believe Beckley was infected
when a fly landed on her eye while she was traveling through cattle fields in southern Oregon, according to USA Today.
This is only the 11th case of a human being infected in North America.
Previous cases of similar eye worm infections have been found predominantly in Europe and Asia and in rural communities with close proximity to animals and with poor living standards, the researchers told the New York Post.
A study on Beckley’s eye worm infection appears in the
American Journal of Tropical Medicine And Hygiene.
Meanwhile, Beckley said she wants to get the word out about what she went through.
“If this happens to anyone else, I just want them to know that I’m OK,” Beckley told BuzzFeed. CORRECTION: The headline in a previous version of this story incorrectly indicated doctors removed the worms from Beckley’s eye. She removed most of them herself. Also on HuffPost
A South Korean mans left hand had to be amputated after it became infected from a bacteria he contracted after eating raw sushi
A toddler in Saudi Arabia swallowed this Spongebob pendent.
More Scissors in the Abdomen - Feb. 16, 2011
An X-ray shows a pair of surgical scissors in the abdomen of Anne, a woman in Lyon, France, who complained of abdominal pain after a surgery. Five months after the operation, Anne realized the scissors had been forgotten in her womb when the point of the scissors pierced her navel following a coughing fit.
More Face In A Testicular Ultrasound
Doctors examining an ultrasound of a testicular tumor in Canada were shocked by the resemblance to a face in agony. "It was very ghoulish, like a man screaming in pain," said Doctor Naji Touma, who works at Queen's University, according to The Toronto Star.
More Spear in man's head
These CT scans show a 6-inch spear lodged in the head of Emerson de Oliveira Abreu, who sought treatment at a hospital in Brazil in late March. The spear pierced his head during an underwater fishing accident. After doctors operated to remove the spear, Abreau said he would never fish underwater again.
More Prisoner X-rays in May 2006
X-rays from Central Prison in Raleigh, N.C., on display in May 2006 show items such as bed springs and batteries that prisoners swallowed to gain trips to outside hospitals.
More Blow Dart
A 15-year-old had a blowgun dart stuck in his throat. Reproduced with permission from Pediatrics, Copyright @ by the AAP. Full text may be available from Pediatrics' website: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/.
More live ammo in skull
A CT scan shows a 14.5 millimeter live round of ammunition lodged in the skull of an Afghan soldier. A U.S. military doctor successfully removed the unexploded round -- more than 2 inches long -- at the Bagram Air Field hospital in Afghanistan last month.
More Steel balls and magnets inside a child, May 8, 2008
An 8-year-old girl from Indiana swallowed steel balls and magnets from a toy set in May. The child required emergency surgery and was hospitalized for two weeks.
More Cocaine Smuggler
In this Monday Sept. 12, 2011 image of a CAT scan released by Brazilian Federal Police on Sept. 16, 2011, bags loaded with cocaine are seen inside the body of an unidentified man after he was arrested at the Congonhas airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Monday. According to a federal police press release, the man is identified as a young Irish male who tried to board a flight to Brussels after swallowing 72 capsules containing a total of 830 grams (1.82 pounds) of cocaine.
More Snake and blanket July 2006
Houdini, a 12-foot python, swallowed an electric blanket in July 2006 that his owner put in his cage for warmth. The snake was doing fine after surgery.
More Tired Traveler
This dozing drunk caught a free ride on the baggage belt at a Rome airport, and received a free full-body X-ray in the process.
More Nails in skull
A nail gun shot six nails into construction worker Isidro Mejia's head during an April 2004 accident. He survived and was expected at the time to recover fully.
More Knife in Face
A stunning X-ray image shows a knife stuck deep inside a Chinese teenager's cheek. Ren Hanzhi, 13, tripped and fell while peeling an apple -- jamming himself in the face with a nearly 8-inch knife on Jan. 31. Amazingly, the blade did not strike the boy's brain and doctors were able to remove the knife, expecting him to make a full recovery.
More Spearfishing Accident
A Miami teen who impaled himself in the forehead in a spearfishing gun accident is very, very lucky, according to surgeons who were able to remove the long piece of metal that was lodged all the way through his brain.
More Pruning Shears
In this image provided by the University Medical Center in Tucson, a CT scan shows a pair of pruning shears embedded in the head of an 86-year-old Green Valley, Ariz., man before it was removed by Medical Center surgeons in Tucson on July 30, 2011. Leroy Luetscher was accidentally impaled through his eye socket after falling on the shears while working in his yard, the handle penetrating his eye socket and reaching down into his neck. He is expected to make a full recovery. (AP Photo/University Medical Center,Tucson, Arizona)
Dante Autullo, a 32-year-old Chicago man, accidentally shot a 3.5 inch nail in his brain and didn't notice for more than 24 hours. In January of 2012, doctors at Advocate Christ Medical Center successfully removed the nail and replaced a piece of his skull with a mesh patch and titanium plate.
More Marilyn Monroe chest x-ray - June 28, 2010
Three X-rays of Marilyn Monroe's chest and pelvis taken during a 1954 hospital visit have sold for more than 10 times their presale estimates, earning $45,000.
More Metal Bar Through Skull
This tomography scan released Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012 by the Miguel Couto hospital, show the skull of 24-year-old construction worker Eduardo Leite pierced by a metal bar in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Doctors say Leite survived after a 6-foot metal bar fell from above him and pierced his head. Luiz Essinger of Rio de Janeiro's Miguel Couto Hospital Friday told the Globo TV network that doctor's successfully withdrew the iron bar during a five-hour-long surgery.
More Alien Tumor -- Feb. 14, 2011
When California vice principal Josh Abken told his doctor he was having persistent back pain about a year ago, the doctor took an X-ray. They discovered a soccer-ball sized "alien" tumor that had become as solid as a rock and even had growing tentacles.
More Surgical scissors in Australian woman
A 6-inch pair of surgical scissors appears in the abdomen of Australian Pat Skinner in April 2004 -- 18 months after her initial operation.
More Real Smooth
A 30-year-old Atlanta woman with a history of bulimia swallowed a knife while demonstrating that she no longer had a gag reflex for friends, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
More Hitting The Nail On The Head
Yang Yi Kui, of China, accidentally lodged an 8-cm nail in his head, and didn't even realize it was there until he went to the hospital because he felt sick.
Read the whole story here. More Cutis Verticis Gyrata
The man has a condition called cutis verticis gyrata, which is when the scalp has "ridges and furrows resembling the brain's surface."
More Invasive Species? Man Hospitalized With Eel In Butt PVC pipe in corpse in February 2006
A film released in February 2006 shows PVC plumbing pipes put into a deceased person as part of an alleged body parts ring. Several people were charged in the case.
More Lee Gardner's Fork, PRE-OP
Yeah, it's disgusting. Sorry about that.
More Fork In Tummy
Lee Gardner got a plastic fork stuck in his stomach. FOR 10 YEARS. Here's the fork in it's glory, after the operation.
More Nail in skull
A nail rests in a South Korean man's skull in December 2004. He sought help for a bad headache and upon discovery said it likely happened four years earlier.
More Chair January 2007
The leg of a chair thrown outside a Melbourne, Australia, club in January 2007 speared Shafique el-Fahkri's eye socket down to his neck. He spent a month in intensive care but has mostly recovered.
More Prisoner who swallowed a cell phone, Sept. 2006
Cell phones were found in the intestines of four prisoners in El Salvador's maximum-security prison, authorities said in September 2006. Suspicious prison officials took X-rays of each of the prisoners.
More Chen Liu of China
Police in Sydney, Australia, released this X-ray of the skull of Chen Liu, 27, who died after being shot in the head with a nail gun 34 times. Liu's bound body was found in a river in November. The photo was released as part of a public plea for more information in the case. Liu is shown on the upper left in an undated photo.
More Love HuffPost? Become a founding member of HuffPost Plus today. This article originally appeared on HuffPost.