Parasites That Can Affect the Eye

Do you know that some parasites can severely cause damage to your eyes and affect them? You should know. Moreover, you, particularly contact lens users, must be wary about them to protect your eyes, accordingly.

Here are five parasites that can seriously harm your eyes:

Toxoplasma Gondii

  1. Toxoplasma Gondii – is a single-celled, obligate intra-cellular parasite that can cause a disease called toxoplasmosis. It is found around the world and are dangerous as they may cause lesions and loss of vision.

    Close to one-third of humanity has been exposed to Toxoplasma Gondii. It is actually one of the most common parasitic infections of man.

    As stated, research shows that this parasite can severely affect the eye and also the brain, attacking their tissues, resulting to various illness. Even people with healthy and strong immune system are prone to experiencing eye damage from toxoplasmosis.

    Loa Loa

  2. Loa Loa – Commonly known as the “African Eye Worm”, it can grow to almost two inches long and it localizes into the conjunctiva of the eye. Frequently, subconjunctival migration of an adult worm to the eyes are likely to occur.This parasite eventually causes an eye disease called Loa Loa filariasis. Loa Loa can be quite painful when moving around the eyeball and it can also cause inflammation. Often, surgery may be required.

    It can be passed on to humans through the bite of either a deer fly or a mango fly. These are flies that that often pass on the parasite breed in certain rain forests of Central and West Africa, hence, the reason why Loa Loa is commonly referred to as the “African Eye Worm”.

    Baylisascaris Procyonis

  3. Baylisascaris Procyonis – Also known as the Raccoon Roundworm, it is commonly found in the United States. These intestinal parasites are found in a variety of animal hosts, with human as accidental hosts.

    Over the years, the concern for human infection due to this parasite has been rapidly increasing as urbanization of more rural areas results in the increase in its proximity as well as human interaction with raccoons.

    Though rare, this can be severe as they can cause human infections, the eye included as they can migrate there. Furthermore, this may result in permanent vision damage and loss.

    Toxocara Canis

  4. Toxocara Canis – These come from dogs as anyone can get them through contact with infected feces. Humans can acquire the infection as accidental hosts. Once inside the human body, they migrate to the heart, brain and eyes, causing serious effects.

    The larvae strongly penetrates the intestinal wall and are carried out by the natural circulation to a wide variety of tissues of the mentioned body parts. This parasite usually grows in the back of the eye of humans, which may cause blindness or may affect the liver or the lungs.


  5. Acanthamoeba – They exist in all types of water sources. These can be a headache as they tend to eat the eyeball and they are extremely difficult to kill. This amoeba can possibly be spread to the eyes through the use of contact lens, by cuts or open skin wounds and by accidentally being inhaled into the lungs.

    In the States alone, studies show that 85% of Acanthamoeba Kerititis, the eye disease caused by the parasite, occur in people who wear contact lenses. Moreover, Acanthamoeba Kerititis can cause serious infection to the eye that can possibly result to blindness and permanent and severe visual impairment.

Given all these damages that the mentioned parasites can cause, prevention of infection is the most important health measure.

It is important to have your eye checked every time it is necessary.

Visit and book a consultation and our ophthalmologists are ready to help you whichever way to ensure that you will continue to live your life maximizing the gift of vision.

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