Indian Journal of Ophthalmology

: 2014  |  Volume : 62  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 357--358

Bilateral intraocular dirofilariasis

Viney Gupta1, Preeti Sankaran1, Mohanraj1, Jyotish Chandra Samantaray2, Vimla Menon1,  
1 Department of Ophthalmology Dr. Rajendra Prasad Center for Ophthalmic Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Microbiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Viney Gupta
Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi


Ocular dirofilariasis mostly presents as a subconjunctival or eyelid lesion. [1] Intraocular dirofilarial infestation is rare. [2],[3] We report a case of a young woman who was accidentally detected to have a live motile worm in the anterior segment in one eye and a cystic lesion on the optic disc in the other eye. To our knowledge, bilateral intraocular dirofilariasis has never been reported.

How to cite this article:
Gupta V, Sankaran P, Mohanraj, Samantaray JC, Menon V. Bilateral intraocular dirofilariasis.Indian J Ophthalmol 2014;62:357-358

How to cite this URL:
Gupta V, Sankaran P, Mohanraj, Samantaray JC, Menon V. Bilateral intraocular dirofilariasis. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2014 [cited 2023 Nov 29 ];62:357-358
Available from:

Full Text

A 38-year-old Indian woman presented to our Outpatient Department in north India with complaints of redness in her right eye since 6 months. She had no history of recent travel. On examination, the right eye had mild conjunctival congestion. Her vision was 6/6 in both eyes without glasses. Slit lamp examination revealed a live motile transparent worm in the anterior chamber of her right eye [Figure 1]. The worm was not adherent to the cornea or iris. Cross-sectional thickness measured by ultrasound biomicroscopy was 130 microns. There was no inflammatory reaction in the anterior chamber. On dilated fundus examination of the left eye, a small lesion, approximately 1/10 th of the size of optic disc was noted on the superonasal quadrant optic disc. The lesion was confirmed to be separate from the disc and contained inflammatory debris on posterior segment optical coherence tomography [Figure 2]. No scolex was noted. Computed tomography of brain and orbits revealed no abnormality. Stool examination was normal. There was no hepatomegaly or splenomegaly. Her hemogram, including eosinophil counts was normal.{Figure 1}{Figure 2}

Under topical anesthesia, two paracentesis were made in the anterior chamber of the eye. The worm extruded with the aqueous. Morphologically, the features of the worm were consistent with an adult Dirofilaria repens. The worm was unsheathed with a blunt head and a tapering tail. It was 20-mm in length, surrounded by a thick cuticle, with multiple transverse ridges. Under the cuticle, a thick muscular layer was seen. Postoperatively, the right eye remained quiet with no inflammatory episode. The cystic lesion in the left eye did not show further change over 3 months. In view of normal visual acuity and no ocular inflammation in the left eye, no intervention was performed. The patient remains under close follow-up.


The most common Dirofilarial species isolated from humans have been D. tenuis, D. immitis, and D. repens. [4] Determining the species of Dirofilaria is sometimes difficult, especially if a male worm is not present, and the final diagnosis is often based on the presumed location of acquisition (i.e., D. tenuis if in the United States, D. repens elsewhere). [4]

The route for intraocular penetration is still unknown. Rarely, lesions corresponding to its migration have been reported in the posterior segment, as active areas of choroiditis. [5] Although our patient had no such active retinal lesions in the right eye, the lesion in the left eye pointed to the possible site of entry of the worm. The hypotheses are that the adult worm penetrates the sclera, or the larva penetrates the blood-ocular barrier, and matures inside the eye. We suspect that the lesion in the left eye occurred as an inflammatory response to a dead Dirofilarial worm, similar to subcutaneous nodules. On cross-section of these lesions, a degenerated worm is usually seen, with necrotic area surrounded by a granulomatous reaction with epithelioid cells, giant cells, lymphocytes, macrophages, and eosinophils. [6] The present case report underscores the necessity to perform a comprehensive examination in a case of red eye, including examination of the fellow eye to detect any sign of parasitic infestation.


1Nath R, Gogoi R, Bordoloi N, Gogoi T. Ocular dirofilariasis. Indian J Pathol Microbiol 2010;53:157-9.
2Moorhouse DE. Dirofilaria immitis: A cause of human intra-ocular infection. Infection 1978;6:192-3.
3Gungel H, Kara N, Pinarci EY, Albayrak S, Baylancicek DO, Uysal HK. An uncommon case with intravitreal worm. Intravitreal Dirofilaria infection. Br J Ophthalmol 2009;93:573-4.
4Otranto D, Eberhard ML. Zoonotic helminths affecting the human eye. Parasit Vectors 2011;4:41.
5Agarwal M, Biswas J. Live intraocular Dirofilaria causing multifocal choroiditis. Retinal cases and Brief Reports 2009;3:228-9.
6Neva FA, Brown HW. Basic Clinical Parasitology. 6 th ed. Norwalk, Connecticut: Appleton and Lange publishers; 1996.