It sounds unbelievable but doctors in Taiwan have removed four bees embedded in a woman’s left eye.
The 29-year-old patient went to Fooyin University Hospital last month because of severe pain in that eye. Doctors discovered the tiny bees feeding off the moisture in her tear ducts, according to Business Insider Singapore.
“Under the microscope, I slowly pulled them out, one after another,” ophthalmologist Dr. Hung Chi-ting said at a press conference last week.
The patient, who was only identified by her last name He, said the ordeal began when she was plucking weeds around a gravestone. She said she rinsed what she thought was sand from her eyes, but the left eye was heavily swollen by the time she got home a few hours later, according to The New York Times.
The bees that Hung removed were alive. They are colloquially known as sweat bees because feed on sweat and tears from humans and animals. However, they rarely sting.
Hung said the patient’s contact lenses may have saved her vision.
“She was wearing contact lenses so she didn’t dare to rub her eyes in case she broke the lens,” he told the BBC. “If she did, she could have induced the bees to produce venom. ... She could have gone blind.”
The woman was discharged and is expected to make a full recovery. The still-living bees were sent to a research facility where they will be studied, Hung said.
“This is the first time in Taiwan we’ve seen something like this,” he told the BBC.
Matan Shelomi, an associate professor of entomology at National Taiwan University, told The Washington Postthat, luckily, stings by sweat bees aren’t that painful. He compared it to “a tiny spark [that] has singed a single hair on your arm.”
“She couldn’t have asked for a better bee to sting her in her eye,” Shelomi said.
You can see doctor and patient discuss the incident in the video below.