This furry-eyed deer is pure nightmare fuel


Getty Images / Wolfgang Kaehler

You know that extremely uncomfortable feeling you get when you have a loose lash stuck in your eye? You find yourself sitting there, unconsciously rubbing it, and the whole world has to stop for a minute because it’s so annoying.

Well imagine that, but instead of hands to get your hair down, you have helmets. And it’s not just loose hair, it’s a bunch of them.

A report of a “sick deer” made to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has produced a mixture of amazement, disgust and cringe, thanks to a Tennessee dollar found with corneal dermoids, also known as hairy eyeballs.

The white-tailed deer was found bleeding and disoriented in Farragut, a suburb of Knoxville in eastern Tennessee, in late August 2020. Animal control was forced to dispatch the deer, but sent the head for analysis at the Southeastern Cooperative Study of Wildlife Diseases (SCWDS) unit of the University of Georgia veterinary school.

While the deer was found posthumously to have an epizootic hemorrhagic disease, an infectious and often fatal virus that affects white-tailed deer, another notable aspect was discovered: the deer corneas were almost completely covered by hair discs.

Written by Dr. Nicole Nemeth and Research Technician Michelle Willis, the official SCWDS report stated: “Corneal dermoids, as in the case of this deer, often contain elements of normal skin, including hair follicles, sweat glands, collagen and fat … The masses are generally benign (non-invasive) and congenital, probably as a result of an embryonic developmental defect. “

Therefore, the deer likely had these corneal dermoids for quite some time, progressively getting worse until their vision was almost completely obscured.

According to Sterling Daniels of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, “Maybe I could tell the day from the dark, but I don’t think I can see where it is going. I would compare it to covering your eyes with a washcloth. You could tell the day night, but that’s it. “

It is only the second deer to be documented with corneal dermoids.

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