A Taiwanese woman lived through the ultimate nightmare after going to a local hospital with what she thought was a simple eye infection. Turns out there were bees living under her eyelid – four of them.
The young woman, who health officials only identified as Ms. He, was visiting the gravesite of a family member during the country’s annual tomb-sweeping festival. Local media reported the woman said she was pulling weeds at the grave when something became stuck in her eye. After attempting to wash the foreign object from her eye, the woman began to feel severe pain, and her eye began to swell.
“It was a very intense stinging pain and I was constantly shedding tears, there was a lot of secretion,” He told reporters at a local news conference on Wednesday.
Doctors at Taiwan’s Fooyin University Hospital were shocked at what they found to be the cause of the woman’s eye inflammation: Bees. Four tiny bees had made a home under her eyelid.
“After I pulled them out one by one, I discovered that surprisingly there were four bees,” Doctor Hong Chi Ting told reporters. “The size of every single bee was around 0.3 to 0.4 centimetres.”
The bees, commonly known as sweat bees, come from the large bee family of Halictidae and are commonly found in North America. As the Canadian Wildlife Federation notes, sweat bees can be identified by their bright metallic green or blue colour. Females are generally a bright green, whereas males have a bright-coloured head and yellow-and-black striped abdomen. (Oh, and the females are hairy, in case you needed further horrific detail.)
In keeping with the insect’s name, not only are the bees attracted to pollen, they will feed on perspiration and tears, often landing on humans to lick their sweat.
Doctors determined He had suffered from a severe bacterial infection as a result of the bees living in her eye.
“Her power of sight had decreased to under 10 per cent of normal eyesight,” the doctor told reporters. “Luckily she did not have a high fever and the central nervous system had not been affected.”
Speaking with the BBC, Hong said he suspected a gust of wind must have blown the bees into her eyes, becoming stuck, adding He was “lucky” to not have rubbed her eyes.
“She was wearing contact lenses so she didn’t dare to rub her eyes in case she broke the lens,” the doctor said. “If she did she could have induced the bees to produce venom… she could have gone blind.”
–with a file from Reuters