In what sounds like a medical mystery suitable for Dr. House, doctors in Leeds couldn’t figure out why antibiotic treatment wasn’t working for a 29-year-old British man with a three week history of a red, watery, and light-sensitive eye. As the doctors soon discovered, this wasn’t your normal case of pink eye, according to the Los Angeles Times:
Once examined under high magnification lenses, hair-like projections were spotted at varying depths within the cornea. When these details were discussed with the patient, he immediately recalled an incident that had preceded the onset of his symptoms. 3 weeks earlier, he had been cleaning the glass tank of his pet, a Chilean Rose tarantula. While his attention was focused on a stubborn stain, he sensed movement in the terrarium. He turned his head and found that the tarantula, which was in close proximity, had released “a mist of hairs” which hit his eyes and face.
It’s hard to believe a blast of projectile hairs to his eyeball slipped the patient’s mind.
In hindsight, protective goggles would have been a good investment considering that Chilean Rose tarantulas are known to launch their barbed hairs at attackers in self-defense. The hairs were too tiny to be removed by microforceps, so the spider owner is left with taking steroid eye drops to clear up his symptoms.
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Image: flickr / Furryscaly