Bloomington, Indiana – A mom in Bloomington said her son got a tick in his eye. It was an alarming and unusual find, that’s now serving as a reminder of all of the places people should check for ticks.
Beau Bostrom is 5-years-old and loves to be outside. But now when he’s playing outdoors, he’s also keeping an eye out for ticks. His mom, Ellie Perkins, said a few weeks ago after a long day of playing outdoors, she noticed his eye was red and swollen.
“At first I was like, it is just a bug. No big deal, I can get it out. And he let me touch his eye and then I realized it is not moving. And then I looked a little bit closer to see and what I initially thought was… a tick,” said Perkins.
To her surprise, it was a tick. However, everyone Perkins called thought she meant the bug was on Beau’s eyelid.
“I am like, no. The white part of his eye, there is a tick,” said Perkins.
She snapped some pictures for proof, as she tried to figure out what to do.
“Lyme disease,” said Perkins. “Anytime you see a tick on someone you’re like ‘Okay, we have got to get this off’ because that is a fear. And then my mind goes to the worst and I was like… ‘Blindness! What is going to happen? How do I get this off? What do I do?”‘
The pediatrician suggested she take Bostrom to the emergency room or see an eye doctor, right away. Perkins then reached out to Dr. Joseph Mackey at the Eye Center of Southern Indiana.
“When she sent that photo, it definitely looked like a tick,” said Dr. Mackey.
Dr. Mackey is an ophthalmologist and said in his 12 years as an eye surgeon, he’s never seen anything like it.
“When she told me it was a tick, I was a little surprised, a little taken aback,” said Dr. Mackey. “But she sent me a picture over the phone and sure enough, it looked like a tick.”
Dr. Makey said he was worried about possible infection from a tick bite, but he doesn’t think the tick attached. Still, he had trouble removing it, simply because it’s hard to get a 5-year old to not move.
“Fortunately in his case, it looked like it was just sitting on the eye so it wasn’t actually attached at that point, which is a good thing because if we think about a tick, we worry about if it’s attached. That is a bite. Is it going to become infected? And also, ticks can carry blood born illnesses like Lyme disease,” said Dr. Mackey.
Dr. Mackey had the family make an appointment in the morning at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. Then, thankfully the next day Perkins was able to get the tick out of Bostrom’s eye.
“I just kind of opened the bottom of his eye and I was able to kind of get it out of his eye. Luckily, he was a trooper and let me do that and I was just like, ‘Thank goodness, thank goodness’ and it was dead,” said Perkins.
Now, she hopes other parents are aware of all the places they should look for ticks.
“When we do a tick check, I want to look in the eyes now too,” said Perkins.
Dr. Mackey said most of the time if something gets in someone’s eye, the eye will water and take care of itself. However, people can also use a saline solution or clean water to try to flush out their eyes.
“You can lay the individual down on their back or sort of on the side and just take a clean cup and you can actually just run water or saline over the eye and try to flush out whatever is in there,” said Dr. Mackey.
Still, if there is a tick in someone’s eye, he suggests calling an eye doctor.