Disturbing photos show lice nesting in 3-year-old’s eyelashes

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This will make your skin crawl.

Clinicians in China discovered head lice nested in a young boy’s eyelashes when he made a startling trip to the ophthalmologist, according to an entry published in the September edition of the American Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports.

The 3-year-old patient complained of intense itching and “abnormal” secretions around his eyes, as well as swelling and redness for more than a week.

Upon further inspection, physicians found “a large number of nits,” or lice eggs, “tightly adhered” to his lashes on his right eye, as well as the hair-loving, translucent critters.

The preschooler from Zhengzhou liked to play with sand and frequently touched his eyes with unwashed hands.

Nits and bugs in eyelashes
Medics discovered a number of lice and nits, or eggs.
Elsevier Inc.

Eyeball close up
The young boy was infested with lice in his lash line.
Elsevier Inc.

Thankfully, the vision of the unidentified patient was not affected by the pesky parasites.

While “extremely rare,” the boy was diagnosed with a head lice infection — on his lashes.

Once the insects and their eggs were removed, his symptoms “were completely resolved immediately,” and he was given ointment and eye drops to apply.

Lice — which appear on the scalp, skin or pubic hair — feed on human blood and are often spread from close contact, shared belongings, contact with contaminated furniture, or sexual contact, per Mayo Clinic.

Lice bug
Lice feed on human blood and are often found on the scalp.
San Martin Gilles

Lice up close
While the boy’s symptoms matched other eye conditions, a closer inspection revealed the lice.
Elsevier Inc.

For eyelash lice, the symptoms are consistent with several other types of ocular conditions, which could lead to misdiagnosis, according to the case report.

“This case suggests that ophthalmologists should not only consider common inflammation and allergies, but also be alert to parasitic infections when treating patients with ocular itching and abnormal secretions,” the authors wrote.

While head lice outbreaks are common in children 3 to 11 years old, there is potential for infection at any age.

In 2019, experts warned that eyelash extensions increased the risk of lash louse infestations due to improper cleaning of beauty products.

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