Woman’s Eye Pain Reveals Four Sweat Bees Feeding on Tears

A 29-year-old woman from Taiwan recounted feeling something enters her eye while removing weeds from a family grave. Believing it was dirt, she cleaned her eye with water. Despite her efforts, the rinse proved ineffective, and by nightfall, her eye had become swollen, with a sharp eye pain. Doctors found sweat bees feeding on her tears.

Shocking Revelation Behind the Eye Pain

“The pain was intense. Tears kept streaming from my eye,” shared the Taiwanese woman, identified solely by her family name, He. “I was scared to death.”

For the next three hours, the pain persisted, compelling her to seek medical attention at a hospital for an examination of her eye. Upon examination with a microscope, the ophthalmologist made a startling discovery, far beyond a typical eye infection – tiny legs of four live sweat bees were observed wriggling near her tear duct.

These bees were nourishing themselves by feeding on her tears.

A Rare Phenomenon: Sweat Bees Feeding on Tears

Dr. Hung Chi-ting, Head of the Ophthalmology Department at Fooyin University Hospital in Taiwan, characterized the incident as a “world first,” having effectively removed all four sweat bees alive from He’s tear duct.

Eye Pain Reveals Four Bees Feeding on Tears

“I observed something look like an insect’s legs, so I carefully extracted them one by one under a microscope, ensuring not to harm their bodies,” Dr. Hung Chi-ting stated during a press conference with CTS news.

The Nature of Sweat Bees and the Risk of Blindness

Sweat bees, usually sustained by nectar and pollen, derive their name from their affinity for salt in human sweat. They tend to be non-aggressive, stinging only when provoked. Dr. Hung noted that sweat bees are commonly found in mountainous regions or near graves, which clarifies how they entered the woman’s eye.

The woman received a diagnosis of cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection, along with severe corneal erosion attributed to the presence of sweat bees. Dr. Hung emphasized her good fortune in refraining from rubbing her eyes, as doing so could have squashed the bees and posed a risk of blindness to the eye.

The Unsettling Realization: The Fright of Bees

“Fortunately, she came to the hospital early. Otherwise, I might have had to consider removing her eyeball to prevent further complications,” Hung remarked. “Following the removal of the bees, she is expected to recover fully.”

Bees can be utterly terrifying. Something about them completely bypasses rational thought and triggers an immediate panic response in the brain, regardless of size. Now, with this story in mind, I realize their small size makes them even more frightening.

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  1. Woman’s Eye Hurts, Doctors Find Four Bees Feeding on Her Tears [Internet]. Accessed from Thrillist on April 03, 2024. Available at: https://www.thrillist.com/news/nation/doctors-find-bees-in-womans-eye

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