Eyes are one of the vital structures of the body. Without good eyes, it becomes a great challenge for an individual to perform even day to day tasks. Since eyes are always exposed to the outside world thus they are prone to get infected from foreign bodies like bacteria, viruses, and even parasites. What may look like a simple eye irritation may actually be a serious infection in the eyes caused by Parasites in the Eyes. Studies show an increased number of parasitic infections of the eye in the recent past and hence it is very important to know the different types of symptoms which may point to Parasites in the Eyes. In this article, we will look into the various symptoms which indicate Parasites in the Eyes and require emergent intervention from a skilled ophthalmologist.
Parasites can infiltrate the body through various means like contaminated water, dirt, clothes, shared towels, and even through kitchen utensils. Thus it can be said that it is quite difficult to prevent parasitic infections and since eyes are the most vulnerable part of the body hence it becomes easier for parasites to infect the eyes, although following a good hygiene like maintaining proper cleanliness at home and at workplace can go a long way in keeping parasites in the eyes at bay.
What are the Symptoms of Parasites in the Eyes?
Some of parasitic disease conditions which may affect the eye are Microsporidiosis, Malaria, Chagas’ disease, Toxoplasmosis, and Leishmaniasis. The following are some of the symptoms which an individual can experience in case of a parasitic infection in the eye.
Redness of the Eyes: Due to presence of Parasites in the Eyes, the eyes may become red and bloodshot. The symptoms of redness due to parasites in eye may be accompanied by frequent tearing of the eyes. If the redness in the eye does not resolve with normal over the counter medications then it needs emergent evaluation as Parasites in the Eyes may damage the optic nerves which may lead to some serious damage to the eyes which may be even permanent.
Temporary Loss of Eyesight: In case if the Parasites in the Eyes spread to infect the retina, cornea, or the iris then the individual may experience temporary loss of visual perception and may become blind temporarily. The temporary blindness may be preceded by blurred vision and then the vision may become slight blurry before being completely blinded. If not treated appropriately, this may also lead to permanent blindness.
Eye Swelling: Blepharitis is a condition that is caused by the parasite Demodex. This parasite may cause swelling of the lower portion of the eye socket as a result of Parasites in the Eyes. The swollen area will cause itchiness and irritation in the eyes and you would feel to constantly rub the eyes. This may also interfere with sleep as you may not be able to close the eyes properly due to the swelling and irritation caused due to Parasites in the Eyes. A normal eye infection and inflammation may calm down within a couple of days with medications but inflammation and swelling caused due to Parasites in the Eyes may not go and require intervention from an ophthalmologist for treatment.
Frequent Tearing: Parasites in the eyes may also cause symptoms of persistent flowing of tears from the eyes. In cases of parasitic infection in the eye, the eyes will constantly be wet and you will find it difficult to open the eyes completely. Associated symptoms with this will be severe pain which may also interrupt your sleep at night. You will even find it difficult to do routine tasks like reading a book or watching television.
Pus Formation: Another symptom for Parasites in the Eyes is development of pus in the eyes. The pus formation starts as soon as the infection kicks in and continues to develop as the infection progresses. This pus is caused by the Demodex Brevis parasite which directly affects the glands that secrete oil from the eyes.
Eye Itching: Eye itching is a common symptom for an eye infection but if this itching along with persistent redness and swelling is caused by Parasites in the Eyes then the itching will be more prominent and you will tend to blink your eyes continuously and make it hard for you to even accomplish simple tasks.
Vision Disturbance: Parasites in the Eyes also cause symptoms of severe vision disturbance, especially when it starts to affect the main parts of the eyes like the cornea and the retina. Once this happens, it becomes essential to contact an ophthalmologist for a treatment plan as progression of this may cause some serious damage to the cornea or the retina and you may end up having permanent visual impairments due to Parasites in the Eyes.
Ulceration of the Eye: This is yet another symptom of Parasites in the Eyes. This will be like a white patch on the eye when taken a look at. This ulcer is pretty serious and if immediate measures are not taken to remove this ulcer this may cause severe damage to the cornea and the retina resulting in severe visual impairment.
Floaters: These are visible during the advanced stage of a parasitic infection of the eye. By the time, floaters are observed certain amount of damage to the cornea or the retina may already have occurred due to Parasites in the Eyes. Thus as soon as floaters become visible and you are susceptible to parasitic infections or have a risk factor for it then you need to get checked up by an ophthalmologist right away.
Falling of Eyelashes: This is yet another symptom which occurs when the parasites have invaded the eyelashes damaging the tissues and making them fall off. This loss of eyelashes may be permanent and may leave you with eyes that may not be good looking for cosmetic reasons. Thus, as soon as you feel that you have Parasites in the Eyes then you need to consult an ophthalmologist immediately for treatment to avoid such complications which may occur later on when the infection progresses.
Eye Flaking: When Parasites in the Eyes spread to other parts of the eyes there may be development of White flakes around the eyelid region suggesting that the infection has spread to the eyelids and this is a sign that immediate treatment is required to halt the progression of the infection and prevent further complications due to Parasites in the Eyes.
Photosensitivity: This is yet another symptom which may look common for most eye infections but is also a prominent symptom indicating presence of Parasites in the Eyes. The photosensitivity will be so prominent that you may not even be able to walk outside during daytime without having sunglasses on and even with that you may have some problems.
Cyst in the Eye: Certain parasitic medical conditions like Toxoplasmosis can cause development of cysts around the eyes for which emergent evaluation is required as if left untreated these may result in potentially serious complications.
In summary, anyone can have Parasites in the Eyes as they can spread from one person to another through various means of contact and since eyes are most vulnerable they infect the eyes first. Thus it is important to maintain good hygiene, keep your house and workplace clean, and protect your eyes when out in the open by wearing sunglasses or other protective gear so as to prevent yourself from Parasites in the Eyes.
- American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2021). Parasites: A Hidden Danger to Your Vision. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/parasites-vision-danger
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Parasites – Toxoplasmosis (Toxoplasma infection). https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/index.html