Tick Inside Eye

http://www.news-leader.com/story/news/local/ozarks/2017/07/15/pokin-around-he-knew-watching-naked-and-afraid-he-had-tick-inside-eyelid/472178001/ Steve Pokin, Spokin@NEWS-LEADER.COM  July 15, 2017

Pokin Around: He knew from watching ‘Naked and Afraid’ he had a tick on inside of eyelid636354599974837121-jcoyle-eye

Jim Coyle has been bitten by ticks hundreds of times in his 47 years. But never like this.

He thinks he was bit on the Fourth of July. He spent the holiday with girlfriend Cara Dee Stucke and others on his 9 acres in Northview, in Webster County.

He was in the yard that day.

“But I wasn’t rolling around in the grass or anything,” he says.

He also did some woodworking.

“There was some sawdust,” he explains.

He returned to work July 5 here at the News-Leader, where he is a senior computer analyst.

“My eye was irritated,” he says. “It was very annoying.”

He first thought it might be from the sawdust. But he could not spot anything on his eyeball. Then, he started thinking tick bite.

The only reason he even considered it might be a tick bite is because he is a fan of the reality TV show “Naked and Afraid,”  on the Discovery Channel. In the show, two people — a man and a woman — meet for the first time and must survive in the wilderness for 21 days. Naked.

“I had recently seen a woman on the show get a tick bite in the eye,” Coyle tells me. “I told the kids about that show on the Fourth and when I said the next day I thought I had a tick bite in my eye they thought I was kidding.”

His girl friend, Stucke, a professional photographer, stopped by to see him at work on July 5.

Coyle rolled back the top eyelid of his left eye and there it was — an embedded tick.

“Since she’s a photographer she said, ‘I have to have a picture,'” Coyle says.

He put that photo on his Facebook page, which is where I saw it and immediately went, “Eeewwww, gross.”

He quickly called Heffington Optical Company, which is near the News-Leader on West Chestnut Expressway, and snagged an appointment that afternoon.

First, the optometrist put anesthetic eye drops in Coyle’s left eye. It took Dr. Charles Hornby about 15 seconds to remove the tick, which did not let go easily.

“He then handed me a tissue,” Coyle says. “He told me my eye was bleeding.”

According to Coyle, Hornby said that over the years he has removed countless bugs from the eyes of motorcycle riders. But never before had he dislodged a tick from the inside of an eyelid.

Coyle says that as a hiker and a former Boy Scout leader — as well as a horse rider who has ridden through tall grass — he has been bitten many of times, several times a year.

I found that strange. I told him I don’t recall ever being bitten by a tick. He found that strange.

The mosquitoes love me, as do chiggers.

In fact, Coyle says, after a tick bit him in 2014 he contracted Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

According to the Mayo Clinic Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a bacterial infection. Without prompt treatment, it can cause serious damage to internal organs, such as the kidneys and heart.

Although it was first identified in the Rocky Mountains, the infection is commonly found in the southeastern part of the United States.

Early symptoms include severe headache and high fever. A rash usually appears on the wrists and ankles. The infection responds well to prompt treatment with antibiotics.

In 2014, Coyle says, his fever spiked at 105. He had intense joint pain for six weeks before full recovery.

I remember that. I had just started the News-Leader Running Club on Mondays after work.

In those early days, Coyle ran with us a couple of times.

“I stopped because of the joint pain,” he tells me. “And because I really don’t like running.”

These are the views of Steve Pokin, the News-Leader’s columnist. Pokin has been at the paper five years and over the course of his career has covered just about everything — from courts and cops to features and fitness. He can be reached at 836-1253, spokin@gannett.com, on Twitter @stevepokinNL or by mail at 651 N. Boonville, Springfield, MO 65806.