An Indian doctor removed a five-inch worm from a retired man’s eye, the Mumbai Mirror reports.

When 75-year-old P.K. Krishnamurthy went to Dr. V. Seetharaman’s office, he complained about eye pain, irritation, and redness, from which he had been suffering for two weeks. The specialist was shocked to find a live, writhing 13-centimeter-long worm, about five inches, residing in the patient’s eye. He whisked Krishnamurthy into surgery immediately.

Had the doctor not seen the worm – or perhaps more likely, had Krishnamurthy not gone to the physician – the worm could have burrowed his way into the patient’s brain, caused vision loss, or the loss of his eye altogether. Krishnamurthy had previously gone to an ophthalmologist before making his appearance at the hospital, who had prescribed eye drops. The irritation and redness did not subside though.

Dr. Seethamaran said that it was the length of the organism that was shocking. In fact, in their ophthalmology department at Fortis Hospital in Mumbai, they have seen one other similar worm in a person’s body. This parasite, however, was three centimeters in length, or just over an inch. It was the first time in the physician’s 30 year career that he had seen such a thing. It was also its long journey that doctors found surprising.

The procedure took fifteen minutes, and was surveyed by the patient’s wife. The doctor made a small opening in the conjunctiva, the transparent layer that lines the inside of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye. The threadlike parasite stayed alive for thirty minutes, writhing and jumping around. It was taken away by the microbiology department for identification purposes.

How did it get there? Dr. Seethamaran theorizes that the patient probably ate it in some improperly cooked or uncooked food, made its way into his blood stream from the intestine, and voyaged into his eye.

Krishnamurthy is reportedly doing well and should have a full recovery.