Doctors in Taiwan were shocked to discover that a woman’s eye infection was being caused by the presence of bees living — and feeding — inside of her eye.
The woman, identified only by her surname He, checked into Fooying University Hospital in southern Taiwan complaining about pain in her eye. Upon inspection with a microscope, doctors found four insects wriggling around under her swollen eyelid, which they managed to remove alive.
Dr. Hung Chi-ting, the head of ophthalmology, described the case as a “world’s first,” according to the Daily Mail.
He, who is from the south-western port city of Kaohsiung, recalled that she had been pulling out weeds at a relative’s grave when the insects flew into her eye.
“We were visiting and tidying a relative’s grave, and I was squatted down pulling out weeds,” she told reporters. “I felt wind blowing into my face, then I felt something in my eye which I thought was sand or dirt. I cleaned my eye using water but it started hurting a lot at night, a sharp pain, and I was tearing up.”
Those tears provided sustenance for the bees, which reportedly fed on her tear duct for four hours. As a result, He developed a case of cellulitis and keratitis (a bacterial skin infection and inflammation of the cornea, respectively), according to Dr. Hung.
The insects were identified as a bee belonging to the halictidae family. Commonly known as sweat bees, halictidae are relatively non-aggressive and possess weak stings; however, they are known to be attracted to human perspiration, giving them their name.
“They nest near graves and in fallen trees, so it’s easy to come across them while hiking in mountains,” Dr. Hung said.
Thankfully, He was discharged from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
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