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11th Apr 2022

Doctors use forceps to remove more than a dozen fly larvae from man’s eye – one by one

Kieran Galpin


Doctors believe a fly laid its eggs in his eye while he was farming

In an incident not unlike something from a horror movie, doctors were forced to use forceps to remove more than a dozen fly larvae from a man’s eye.

An unnamed 53-year-old man from France was admitted to the University Hospital of Saint-Etienne over complaints of persistent itching in his right eye.

The man told doctors that he had felt something fly into his eye while farming near livestock, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine published on April 7.

Tests showed “more than a dozen mobile, translucent larvae” moving around the man’s cornea and also in the conjunctiva, the membrane lining the white parts of the eye. Further testing determined the invaders to be Oestrus Ovis, also known as sheep bot fly.


Doctors believe a fly flew into the man’s eye, where it then laid its eggs earlier that day.

He was diagnosed with external ophthalmomyiasis, which doctors in the report described as “an infestation of the outer structures of the eye by fly larvae.”

While you might think that doctors would administer an anti-biotic or an eyewash of some kind, sadly, the reality is much more horrifying.

Nicolas Abihaidar, Thibaud Garcin/ N Engl J Med 2022

The larvae need to be plucked out one by one using forceps as they have “oral hooks” which cling to the cornea.

The doctors were able to remove all of the critters, and just ten days later, the man had completely recovered.

Anyone reading this can expect to recover after a few deep breaths.

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