He was diagnosed with microsporidia keratitis.

By Jamie Ducharme
December 01, 2017
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Credit: Melissa Ross#104372/Getty Images

A Pennsylvania man's amusement park visit allegedly took a dark turn this past summer, when he claims he contracted an eye-eating parasite from a water ride.

Robert Trostle visited Pittsburgh's Kennywood amusement park in July of this year. While there, he claimed in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Allegheny County civil court, he was splashed in the left eye with “dirty, stagnant and sludge-like” water while riding the park's Raging Rapids attraction, which simulates white-water rafting.

Within two days, the complaint says, he began to develop inflammation, pain and itchiness in the affected eye. He was initially diagnosed with and treated for acute conjunctivitis, commonly known as pinkeye, the lawsuit says, but he found no relief. Eventually, he was diagnosed with microsporidia keratitis, a rare parasitic infection of the eye that, in extreme cases, can lead to significant vision loss or total blindness.

Trostle underwent “extremely painful” surgery to scrape the parasite from his eye, but the operation was unsuccessful, according to the complaint, and he still suffers from symptoms including blurry vision, redness of the eye, decreased night vision, inflammation and eye pain. Part of the parasite, the lawsuit says, is also still in his eye. Trostle is looking for at least $35,000 in damages.

While a representative for Kennywood told Travel + Leisure the park is unable to comment in detail on active litigation, he said in a statement that, “Ensuring the safety of our Guests and Team Members is our top priority in everything that we do here at Kennywood. That attention extends to care and maintenance of rides and water used in rides. We follow all regulations required by the Pennsylvania State Department of Agriculture (the agency responsible for inspecting and certifying amusement rides), and often go above and beyond what is required by state law. Kennywood has an extraordinary record of safety, and we intend to fully defend against this claim.”

The Allegheny County Health Department told local CBS affiliate KDKA that the incident was reported over the summer, and the investigation remains ongoing.