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You Have Deer Tick in Your Eye! – First Encounter

By Xiao

Did not know of deer ticks till I was warned when I bid farewell to my life as an “indoor cat”. Since then, I heard stories about it, read about it, saw a cyclist’s socks covered with ticks. But I had been lucky, as I hiked in woods, kayaked in streams and rivers, backpacked in true wilderness. I was bitten by mosquitoes from north to south, was chased by horse flies for miles, but I had been lucky, never encountered deer ticks on a personal level, till now …

Went with our neighbor to see the property that they have mentioned a lot, a lovely log cabin by a creek. Rodger gave us the tour around the region he grew up, had lunch by the river, we went to the winery they loved, got the amazing chocolate covered cherries. A raining day, but wonderful, nonetheless. On the way home, my left eye was itching, thought it was just allergy. Rubbed it from time time, but the eye lid still felt funny, thought it was swelling due to the sensitivity of skin. Couple of times, caught a glimpse of black shadow out the corner of my eye, thought it was just eyelashes were bundled up. But boy, was I wrong.

Got home, asked c if it was bad. He sat me down, took a look at my eye, “Do not freak out, you have deer tick in your eye!” “What? In my eye? Are you sure it is deer tick?” “Yeah, I can see the legs sticking out.” Images were flashing in my mind, a bug in my eye ball with legs sticking out?! “Go take a look, do not freak out.” I went to bathroom, got close to the mirror, caught the sign of a black spider like bug about 5-6 mm big in my eyelashes, with red flare on its side. First relief, it was not in my eye, it was only on the eyelid. By the look of it, a complete bug too, seemingly dead too. c sat me down, have all lights on me, got the tweezer, “I will pull it out”. I thought it would be easy with my limited knowledge. I could see he was nervous though. He took hold of something and yanked. It was not successful but still painful. Tears were rushing out, I assured him that I was OK, “I will try not to take many eyelashes out”. I thought the pain was only from the eye lashes. He took a deep breath and tried again, as his hand pulled away and my eye came into focus behind the film of tear, I saw at the tip of the tweezer, black legs were moving. It was alive?! “Good thing I pulled the head out of your eyelid”. The bug head was inside?! c got a ball of cotton swab soaked with antiseptic wash and I held it to my eye. He looked it up on the web, yes, it was deer tick. He went to find out where we could go and find a doctor to give me some antibiotics. The antiseptic wash started to irritate as I read the label of the bottle with another eye, “do not put it in your eye”. Well, guess the less of two evils.

Hopped in the truck, we went to find the local hospital. Navigated our way to the emergency room, went through three registration processes, got two colored wrist bands, we waited and waited for about two, three hours before we were led into the room, again to wait for the doctor for another hour. My eye was swollen when the doctor came. He checked it and told us about the 24-hour Lyme disease transmission rule. “You don’t really need the antibiotics, you can come in when you have some symptoms. But I can give you some antibiotics if you want.” We are traveling and the idea of looking for another hospital and the wait with an infected eye was not very appealing. I asked for antibiotics against my rule of no pills unless necessary.

It was already dark when we got out of the hospital, most pharmacies were closed already. For the first time, I was glad to have chain stores like Walgreen. It was close to midnight when we got home. My eye was hurting, but I was happy that the deer tick was out. Hope this was the end of the first encounter and no more.


Comment from smh
Time: May 31, 2009, 8:08 pm

You were very lucky. The tick should have been cultured to see if it was infected with the bacteria causing Lyme disease. Not all ticks are infected. Another bad decision was to let your friend remove the tick. It could have broken off and then you would have had to slice open the eyelid to remove it. When irritated, that is when a tick spews the contents of its gut into your body – in this case your eye. If infected, it could have caused your face to be palsied (like Bell’s Palsy). You were wise to get the antibiotics and I hope you took them for at least a month. 3 mos. would have been better to be on the safe side. I’m just now looking for any pix of what a larval sized tick (like a pin head or the size of a dot on a page) might look like when infected as I have a white spot on the inside of my bottom eyelid and it looks festered. Sort of like a small ulcer. I panic because I have already had Lyme disease – or so some doctors said – since then other doctors are disputing it. Doctors in Canada play down LD because Health Canada doesn’t want to finance the research and the ins. companies don’t want to finance the long-term antibiotics to treat it. So they downplay it and people have had to go to the States to get diagnosed and treated to the tune of $100,000.00 – Yes! Doctors are being challenged for treating LD and threatened with losing their practicing licenses. And Health Canada stands by and does basically nothing. Only when a celebrity or some high profile businessman gets LD does it get the attention it deserves – and not in every case. Many people in Canada are suffering from LD in every province, but they can’t get properly diagnosed and treated.
Best of luck and good health to you down the road. And always check for ticks when coming from the woods. I was doing some yard work yesterday and I was underneath a large blue spruce. So I’m afraid I may have gotten a tick in my eye. Will know more tomorrow when I see my doctor.

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