Gusanos in the eyes (Loa Loa): Main symptoms and treatment
the maggot Loa Loa Also known as African eye maggot, it is a parasite that affects the eye system, where it causes symptoms such as irritation, pain, swelling and redness in the eyes.
Generally, the larva lodges in the organism when the tabano fly, which is very common in some regions of Africa, repeatedly dies the skin, depositing the larvae in the blood, which migrate to the definitive site of the infection, which in this case del Loa Loa es, mainly in los ojos. This is where the larvae develop until the adult stage and release larvae that continue circulating through the blood stream.
This disease has a cure, so it is necessary to carry out the treatment that is indicated by the ophthalmologist, which may include the use of drops to relieve symptoms and pills to eliminate body larvae.
See other situations that can cause pain and swelling in eyes, which do not include the presence of larvae.
The infection by Loa Loa It usually does not generate symptoms, especially in people who live in the region where the fly is found, however, in the more advanced stages, which are when the larvae reach the eyes, the main symptoms that can arise are:
- Blurred Vision;
- Comezón o dolor en el ojo;
- Enrojecimiento en el ojo;
- Presence of dark spots on vision;
- Excessive sensitivity to light.
Furthermore, in some cases the presence of the larva can be seen in the eye, it is important to consult an ophthalmologist so that the treatment can be started and the larva removed. In the majority of cases Loa Loa it is present in a single ojo, which is why it is possible for the symptoms only to be found in one of them.
Asimism, the larva can also be maintained in the skin and, in these cases, it is common that small balls appear that do not cause pain either in the arms or in the legs, mainly in the regions close to the joints.
How to confirm the diagnosis
The diagnosis of Loa Loa a general practitioner or ophthalmologist must perform it through the evaluation of symptoms or through the identification of the larva in the eye. In addition, the doctor may request the performance of blood tests to identify the presence of larvae in the blood, being important that the collection of the sample be carried out in the morning.
You can also request the carrying out of immunological exams to verify if there is no presence of antibodies against the Loa Loa to confirm the diagnosis.
How is the treatment performed?
The treatment must always be guided by an ophthalmologist, as it may vary according to the degree of development of the larva and the symptoms that may be present. The most commonly used drugs are:
- anti-inflammatory such as flurbiprofen or diclofenac: the tablet can be used in the form of eye drops to relieve the symptoms of pain, swelling and irritation;
- antiparasitic as albendazole, thiabendazole or mebendazole: they are used as tablets to eliminate body larvae;
- Corticosteroids such as prednisolone or hydrocortisone: they are generally used as eye drops and help relieve the itch and other symptoms. Know the main types of eye drops.
In more advanced cases, surgery is recommended to remove larvae from the eye, especially those that are more superficial.
Normally, the treatment has good results and, therefore, the individual does not develop a sequel. However, in the most serious cases, vision difficulties may arise, even after treatment.
How to avoid getting infected with the larva
The best way to avoid contagion with this larva is to reduce exposure to this type of fly. For him, some advice is:
- Avoid going to places with clay, especially in the shade or around the rivers;
- Put on an insect repellent in the skin;
- Put on a long-sleeved shirtto reduce the amount of exposed skin;
- Prefer to wear pants instead of shorts or skirts.
Generally, this type of flies are more active during the day, so these precautions must be maintained mainly during the sun.
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