Sun, Jan 02, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Doctor discovers surprising cause of patient’s itchy eyes

Staff Writer, with CNA

Red, itchy, inflamed eyes could be a symptom of many ailments, but a local ophthalmologist discovered an unexpected source of a patient’s discomfort recently when he found the eggs of pubic lice in her eyelashes.

Pubic lice are usually found in pubic hair and are often transmitted through direct sexual contact, said eye doctor Wang Szu-hung (王司宏) of the Shu-tien Urology Ophthalmology Clinic.

“However, this was a rare case where the pubic lice jumped onto the patient’s eyelashes. In fact, it was my first clinical encounter [with the phenomenon],” Wang said.

Wang said a 28-year-old female patient surnamed Chang (張) came to the clinic suspecting that her cat or her contact lenses were the most likely cause of her eye inflammation.

An examination found, however, that pubic lice, which are shaped like crabs with three strong pairs of legs that grab on to hair, had brought on the irritation.

If left untreated, they could have caused a severe infection, but Wang dealt with the problem by plucking out the eyelashes that were infested with the lice and applying an anti-inflammatory cream to those that were unaffected.

The doctor advised people to maintain good personal hygiene and refrain from sharing towels and bed linen with other people to avoid coming into contact with the pubic bugs.

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