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    Worming their way into the news

    Parasites wreaking eye havoc on hook as latest 'click bait'


    The world we live in is a dangerous place. The front page of every newspaper screams death and misery; every website features one or more “click bait” headlines promising doom and gloom; every television news service streams worrisome headlines. There is potential nuclear conflict, possible stock market crashes, and alleged undermining of American democracy by foreign agents.

    I understand media outlets have to generate viewers to gain revenue, but the never-ending cacophony of negative stuff makes it easy to get discouraged and hard to venture from the couch on some days.

    But on Tuesday, Feb. 13, two headlines broke new ground when it comes to horror and adversity. Coincidentally, they both involved worms and left eyes: “Woman pulls wiggling cattle worms from her eyeball, makes medical history”1 appeared along with “Brain-eating pork worm removed from man’s eye.”2

    Any reasonable person would agree that—when faced with dueling news reports with titles like these—it would be hard for anyone to decide which to click on first. The clincher for me was that the second article included a video that came with the warning that it might be too “graphic” (i.e., disgusting).

    Who could resist that?

    Peter J. McDonnell, MD
    He is director of The Wilmer Eye Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, and chief medical editor of ...

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