Kentucky Man With Eye 'Irritation' Learns He Has a Tick Stuck in His Eye
As an electric company employee who frequently works outdoors, Chris Prater is no stranger to ticks — but his latest encounter is one he never expected.
Prater told CBS affiliate WYMT that although he typically sprays himself with repellent to avoid ticks, he wound up with a tick lodged inside his eye after a recent job.
The Kentucky man said he noticed an "irritation" in his eye after leaving a job assignment in which he cut a tree from some power lines, but initially brushed it off as sawdust.
"The thing of it is, I really didn't want to go to the doctor," he said, noting he flushed his eye several times. "I figured if it was something, it would come out on its own."
When it didn't, Prater finally paid a visit to an optometrist, who gave him the shocking news that his pain was actually a small tick.
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"That's when I got scared a little bit," he told WYMT. "I leaned around and looked at him and I asked him if he was joking and he said, ‘No, you have a deer tick or some type of tick.' It was very little."
The arachnid was eventually plucked from Prater's numbed eye with a tweezer, and made a "popping sound" as it left its temporary home.
Prater, who said his eye feels mostly back to normal, was initially prescribed antibiotics and steroid drops.
Ticks can be dangerous, as they carry a variety of diseases. Those in Prater's state of Kentucky have been reported to carry spotted fever rickettsiosis, a potentially fatal disease that causes fevers, headaches and muscle aches, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, an infection that falls under the disease's umbrella, made headlines last month after a 2-year-old Michigan boy fell into a coma after contracting the disease from a tick bite on his neck. The boy has since come out of his coma.
Depending on where in the U.S. they're found, the parasites can also carry diseases like Lyme disease, Powassan virus disease, Ehrlichiosis and Babesiosis.
The CDC advises anyone spending time outdoors to treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin, and to avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter if possible.