Hairy Eyeballs Are Actually a Thing

Nature can be strange sometimes.

Recently, a buck was spotted in Knoxville, Tennessee. It was in the street, walking in circles, visibly bleeding, completely unaware of people, and it had something weird in its eyes. Animal control was immediately called.

The poor little buck was dispatched right away, because it was quite obviously beyond saving. An autopsy showed it had epizootic hemorrhagic disease, and the high fever therefrom was what was causing the disorientation. But that wasn’t the deer’s only challenge. It was totally and completely blind. It had probably been desperately dependent upon its mother for its first year, more so than other deer, and somehow it had been stumbling around alone for the last 6 months of its life.

But this deer wasn’t just plain old blind. It had corneal dermoids. Because of that, he had hair growing out of both his eyeballs, completely blocking his ability to see. Hairy eyeballs.

Honest to God. I couldn’t stand the sight of the pictures in this article about it, but if you’re interested, they’re quite, um… hairy. Nature can be very strange sometimes.

Needless to say, this had me reading up on dermoid cysts. Thank goodness they’re very rare. Apparently they can be found in humans, too, and have also been seen in dogs and cows. Check out this detailed description in Wikipedia if you’re curious, but be advised that it, too, contains some icky photos.

Basically, dermoid cysts are caused in utero, when cells get trapped in the skin as the baby grows, and instead of developing into what it should develop into, such as an eyeball or an ovary, or brain, sinus, scrotum or pharynx tissue, they go haywire and produce skin, hair, sweat glands, and even nails, teeth or cartilage. In very odd places.

How horrifying. The good news is that they’re usually non-cancerous. The bad news is you might go through life scaring small children if the cyst can’t safely be removed.

Imagine having a tooth coming out of your nose, or a fingernail growing out of your scrotum. I’ll probably lose a great deal of sleep over that concept. It is the stuff of nightmares.

I’m glad that poor deer is now wandering in the great forest in the sky. His quality of life in Knoxville, however lovely that city can be, was sorely lacking. Rest in peace, buddy.

The photos in my book aren’t nearly as creepy. In fact, they’re quite beautiful.


Author: The View from a Drawbridge

I have been a bridgetender since 2001, and gives me plenty of time to think and observe the world.

8 thoughts on “Hairy Eyeballs Are Actually a Thing”

  1. Wow…. okay, that’s weird! But your description about cells going haywire reminded me that I know someone that had several random teeth growing from the roof of their mouth, quite a distance from where a proper set of teeth were aligned. It’s almost as if life is more than just black and white, this or that, or has easy to follow definitions or rules.

    Sigh. The more I learn, the less I realize I know.

  2. Furballs? Great photos to follow breakfast. Need a strong stomach for one never knows what topic you’re going to cover. I’ve had to deal with worse caring for cancer patients, so no worries. 🙂

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