A deer with hairy eyeballs has been spotted wandering around a Tennessee suburb. The bizarre condition is exactly as it sounds; it has hair growing out of its eyes.
Through no fault of its own, the poor deer in fact has a condition called corneal dermoids, which occurs when a tissue of a particular type grows in the wrong place. Hair growing out of your eyes might possibly be the worst-case example of this.
According to the National Deer Association, the one-year-old was founding circling a suburb in Knoxville, which alarmed local residents when they noticed it was bleeding, disoriented and had no fear of humans.
Animal control officers, who suspected the deer may have been infected with chronic wasting disease (CWD), decided to kill the buck to prevent the spread of the fatal condition.
The deer’s head was then sent to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) unit for tests, where it was later revealed that the deer did not have CWD. It had been suffering from epizootic hemorrhagic disease, which causes fever and disorientation, IFLScience reports.
In its report, the SCWDS said the deer had skin growing in place of its cornea, which is the part of the eyeball that covers the pupil and iris.
‘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 generally are benign (noninvasive) and are congenital, likely resulting from an embryonal developmental defect,’ the researchers said.
‘We assumed the dermoids developed gradually and that the deer was able to adapt to its decreasing field of vision over time,’ they added.