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Infectious Diseases 2023

Worm in the eye: what é, symptoms and treatment

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Worm in the eye: what é, symptoms and treatment
Worm in the eye: what é, symptoms and treatment

The eye bug, also known as Loiasis, is an infection caused by the presence of the Loa loa larva in the body, which usually goes to the ocular system, where it causes symptoms such as irritation, pain, itching and redness in the eyes. eyes, for example.

Generally, the larva is released when the mango fly, very common in some regions of Africa, repeatedly bites the skin, depositing the larvae in the blood, which migrate to the definitive site of infection, which in the case of Loa loa are mainly the eyes. In this place, the larvae develop to adulthood and release larvae that circulate in the bloodstream.

The eye bug has a cure and it is usually necessary to undergo the treatment indicated by the ophthalmologist, which may include the use of eye drops to relieve symptoms and antimicrobial pills to eliminate the larvae from the body.

Main symptoms

Loa loa infection usually does not cause symptoms, especially in people who live in a region with the fly, however in the more advanced stages of the infection, which is when the larvae reach the eyes, the main symptoms that may arise are:

  • Vision blurred;
  • Itchy or sore eye;
  • Redness in the eye;
  • Presence of dark spots in the vision;
  • Excessive sensitivity to light.

In addition, in some cases the presence of the larva in the eye can be noticed, it is important to consult the ophthalmologist so that the treatment is started and the larva removed. In most cases, the eye bug is present in only one eye, and symptoms may not appear in both eyes.

In addition, the larva can also stay on the skin and, in these cases, it is common for small, non-painful lumps to appear on the arms and legs, especially in the regions close to the joints.

How to confirm the diagnosis

The diagnosis of the eye bug should be made through the evaluation of symptoms by the general practitioner or identification of the larva in the eye. In addition, blood tests are recommended to identify the presence of larvae in the blood.

The doctor may also request immunological tests to verify the presence of antibodies against Loa loa, confirming the diagnosis.

How the treatment is done

Treatment should always be guided by an ophthalmologist, as it may vary according to the degree of larval development and the symptoms presented. Commonly used remedies include:

  • Anti-inflammatories, such as flurbiprofen or diclofenac: can be used in eye drops or tablets to relieve symptoms of pain, redness and itching;
  • Antiparasitics, such as albendazole, thiabendazole or mebendazole: are used as pills to eliminate larvae from the body;
  • Corticoids, such as prednisolone or hydrocortisone: These are often used as eye drops and help relieve itching and other symptoms.

In more advanced cases, surgery may still be recommended to remove the larvae from the eye, especially those that are more superficial. However, surgery does not cure the disease and, therefore, medications must be maintained as prescribed by the doctor.

Usually, the treatment has good results and, therefore, the person usually does not have any sequelae. However, in the most severe cases, vision difficulties may arise, even after treatment.

How to avoid catching the larva

Since the Loa loa larva settles in the body after a mango fly bite, the best way to avoid catching the disease is to reduce exposure to this type of fly. For that, some tips include:

  • Avoid going to muddy places, especially in the shade or near rivers;
  • Applying an insect repellent to the skin;
  • Wear a blouse with long sleeves to reduce the amount of exposed skin;
  • Prefer to wear pants over shorts or skirts.

Generally, mango flies are more active during the day and, therefore, these care should be maintained especially while the sun is shining.

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