Trick No Treat: Worms in your Eye? Onchocerciasis River Blindness

Since it is Halloween we wanted a scary blog post. Could anything be more scary than a worm in your eye?

Onchocerciasis  “river blindness”  is a disease caused by the parasitic worm Onchocerca volvulus. This worm is transmitted by blackfly (Simulium species.). These blackflies tend to live in remote villages located near fast flowing rivers and fertile farm land where residents rely on agriculture and work outdoors.

Adult worms produce embryonic larvae in the human body that migrate to the skin, eyes and other body organs.  The worms can get in to the conjuctival space of the eye can can cause damage and inflammation.  This can eventually lead to blindness. This is not a common occourance in Miami Beach, Florida  or any where in the United States as the typically inhabit countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

But since Onchocerciasis is also found in 12 countries in Latin America: Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Venezuela. We must keep an eye out for these rare infestations in patients from or traveling to areas in the regions.

If you have any vision or eye care needs do not hesitate to call South Beach Vision.  Our optometrist is an expert in eye diseases, even the rare creepy stuff!  Have a safe and Happy Halloween!