Sorry in advance if you’re eating something right now – you might want to take a break from it, because this one’s a little gross. Still, it might make you change a couple of your hygiene habits for the better.
A woman in China had been suffering with itchy eyes for around two years. Finally, she thought ‘enough is enough’, and went to see her doctor about the condition. After all, what’s the worst that they could tell her? How bad could it be? Well, pretty bad, as it turns out.
The woman, known only as Ms Xu, went to see doctors in Wuhan, in the central Chinese province of Hubei, and told the doctors about her suffering with itchy, red eyes for the last two years.
Whyhad it taken so long to go get it checked out? Well, according to the report from the Daily Mail, she had simply gotten used to the condition, and had been using over-the-counter eyedrops to manage the symptoms.
But one day, it just got too much to carry on putting up with. Ms Xu had so much crustiness on her eyelashes that her eyelids were actually sticking together. Gross.
Before examining her, doctors asked Ms Xu about her hygiene habits, particularly in relation to how she kept her home. To their horror, they found out that this woman had been using the same pillowcase for over FIVE YEARS.
I mean, I think 5 months would be gross enough, but 5 years?! How does that even happen?
Anyway, the doctors then examined her with magnification equipment, and found that her eyelashes were INFESTED with hundreds of parasites, similar in size to dust mites.
One Chinese news website even said that one single eyelash follicle was home to a colony of ten eyelash mites.
The doctors told Ms Xu that the problem had come about through her poor hygiene habits. For one thing, there’s the whole not washing your sheets for 5 years thing (I still can’t get over that), but they also said that the lack of airflow in her room was a contributing factor.
The lack of airflow and sanitation had caused the parasites to flourish, and apparently they thought this woman’s eyelashes were a pretty good place to settle down and start a family.
The woman was then diagnosed with blepharitis and conjunctivitis, inflammation of the base of the eyelashes and of the eye.
She’s reportedly made a full recovery, but by the sounds of it, she found out the hard way that personal hygiene is really important. I’d also guess that she’ll probably be changing her pillowcase a lot more regularly now, too.
It might sound like a freakishly uncommon case, but stories like this are more common than you might think. In fairness, she’s not completely alone in this one. There are two species of eyelash mite often found in humans – Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis – and some studies even say that almost every adult is infected with at least a few of them, according to the Daily Mail.
So, next time your mom nags you about changing your sheets, you remember the story of Ms Xu, and do the same! It turns out moms do know best, after all.