Doctors Use Creativity to Remove Leech From Woman's Eyeball

After a leech attached itself to an Australian woman's eyeball, doctors in suburban Sydney used a little bit of creativity to dislodge it, the Australian Associated Press reports.

Doctors wrote about the odd case in Emergency Medicine Australasia, a medical journal from Australasian College for Emergency Medicine. The case study includes the new recommendation of using saline solution to remove leeches attached to a person's eyeball.

The saga began after the 66-year-old woman accidentally flicked dirt — and the leech — into her eye while gardening in March of last year.

The leech wiggled across her cornea and began to feed on the blood vessels of her eye.

"It was tucked up underneath her upper eyelid,'' said emergency doctor Toby Fogg who helped to remove the blood-sucking critter. "Our little fellow started off at about half a centimeter and by the time we removed it, it was about 2 centimeters long — it had quite a good lunch.''

Fogg said the doctors could not use tweezers to remove the leech for fear the head would remain in the eyeball and cause an infection. They tried numbing the eye, but the leech was unaffected. Medical literature also recommended using salt, but doctors feared that would be too abrasive to the eye. Instead, they turned to saline solution.

After applying the solution, the leech slithered off the eye, landing on the woman's cheek.

Click here to read more on this story from AAP.

Click here to see the case report. (Subscription required)