According to Reginald Scot in his The Discoverie of Witchcraft
(1584), during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I an epidemic
causing blindness afflicted the cattle of Ireland. This malevolence
was attributed to witches, who were called eye-biters, and
some of them were executed.
Scot, Reginald. The Discoverie of Witchcraft. 1584. Reprint,
New York Dover Publications, 1972.