Indian Journal of Ophthalmology

: 1973  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 208-

Ophthalmia nodosa - (a case report)

RJ Patel, RM Shanbhag 
 Sir Cowasji Jehangir Eye Hospital, Bombay, India

Correspondence Address:
R J Patel
Sir Cowasji Jehangir Eye Hospital, Bombay

How to cite this article:
Patel R J, Shanbhag R M. Ophthalmia nodosa - (a case report).Indian J Ophthalmol 1973;21:208-208

How to cite this URL:
Patel R J, Shanbhag R M. Ophthalmia nodosa - (a case report). Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 1973 [cited 2020 Aug 14 ];21:208-208
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Full Text

A Case Report:

A boy aged 8 years came to the O.P.D. with a history that a caterpillar had fallen into his eye four days age.

There was a severe conjunctival congestion with chemosis. Black catepillar hairs could be seen projecting from areas of nodular hypertrophy in the conjunctiva. On slit lamp examination two caterpillar hairs were seen embeded in the corneal stroma. There were signs of mild iritis. The hairs from the conjunctiva could be pulled out with a fine forceps. How­ever, on attempted removal of the hairs in the cornea they tended to go deeper into the corneal stroma. While one hair remained static, the other migrated down to the pupillary area in 4 months time. The iritis subsided in about 15 days. The nodule on the conjunctiva however could be seen for a month.

The variety of caterpillar involved belonged to the family: Aretiidae and species Estigmene

Comments: Ophthalmia Nodosa is a keratoconjunctivitis which is typically nodular, developing when hairs or spines of certain insects enter the eye and penetrate the tissues.

The first recorded case of this type was due to Caterpillar hair (PAGENSTECHER, 1883) and since then several cases have been reported due to the same cause. Caterpillar hairs are unarmed, but in many cases they are barbed and covered with imbricated cells. The pathological changes are due in part to the mechanical effects of the hairs but probably due to toxic substances secreted by a gland situated at the base of the hair. The toxin is said to be protein in nature.


A case of opthalmia nodosa due to caterpillar hair has been described and the clinical condition discussed[1].


1Duke Elder: Text Book of Ophthal­mology, London, Henry Kimpton, 1954, Vol. VI, p. 6762-6766.