*Warning: This story contains material that some people may find disturbing due to the graphic nature.
TAMPA (CBSMiami/CNN) – It’s like something out of a science fiction movie – a brain-eating parasitic worm living in your eye.
For one Florida man, it was a reality.
“I see like a little black dot and it’s only on the left eye. So I see something moving from left to right,” said Sam Cordero.
The parasite swam through Codero’s bloodstream from his stomach into his eye.
“It came through the artery to vein circulation and it grew in here,” said Tampa General Hospital’s Dr. Don Perez.
Cordero said he thinks the worm came from some undercooked pork he ate around Christmas. A month later he started seeing black dots in his vision, it was the worm settling into his eye.
If the parasite had died, the inflammation could have blinded Cordero. If it had laid some of its 50,000 eggs they could have traveled to his brain and began eating it, basically turning it into Swiss cheese. Thankfully, that
“He was very lucky very lucky,” said Perez, “If it’s in the brain he would have presented with seizures.”
Perez performed the delicate surgery to remove the tapeworm from Cordero’s eye.
“You have to tickle it from one side and have the cutter ready, so when to shoot into the light. So I went into the cutter from the light you can actually aspirate and kill it,” said Perez.
Perez said he took out three millimeters of the worm that was fertilized with those tens of thousands of eggs. He said there roughly 20 documented cases worldwide of pork tapeworms and human eyes, this was his second.
“I’ve been hit with lightning because we seldom see this,” he said.
Perez said this tapeworm is also responsible for 70 percent of all acquired epilepsy cases yet most of them are never traced back to the worm. There are no reported cases in Muslim countries where people do not eat pork.