Thursday, August 19, 2010

Got a Hair in Your Eye?

Adult female Brachypelma smithi, showing a bald patch after kicking hairs off her abdomen. Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

A British man had a red, watery eye; and, prolonged treatment by his doctor didn't improve the situation. But, when ophthalmologist Dr. Zia Carrim looked more closely at the man's eye, he could see tiny hairs embedded in the cornea. That's when his patient remembered his pet tarantula had spewed microscopic hairs into his face when he was cleaning the creature's tank.

The hairs were too tiny to pull out; but, steroid drops have improved the situation. Carrim says it's hoped the hairs will eventually break down and disappear. And, he warned owners to wear goggles if their tartantula becomes agitated because flicking the barbed hairs is a defense mechanism of the spider.

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