A woman clearing off a family member’s grave from weeds had her eyesight saved by doctors who discovered that the cause of her swollen eyes were four bees living under the eyelid.
The young Taiwanese woman, known only by her surname of He, took herself to the hospital earlier this week. She thought she had an infection in her eye.
Doctors examining the 29-year-old found four living bees under her eyelids, feasting on her tears.
The discovery of the four bees, which are sweat bees, is considered a “world first” according to doctors at Fooyin University Hospital in Taiwan. At a press conference, the head of ophthalmology Dr Hung Chi-ting said:
“I saw something that looked like insect legs, so I pulled them out under a microscope slowly, and one at a time without damaging their bodies.”
The woman was believed to be pulling out weeds when she felt something go into her eye at a family member’s grave. It’s Qing Ming, an event commemorated by Asian families who go to clean gravesites of relatives.
The woman felt a stinging in her eye and doctors, under examination, saw the tiny legs of the bees wriggling in her ducts, where they were feeding off the moisture and salt of her tears.
He’s eyesight, and the lives of the bees, were saved by the fact she had not rubbed her eyes.
The small bees, known as Halictidae or “sweat bees”, are attracted to human perspiration and are found all over the world. They are not usually aggressive and sting only if touched. Hung told the press conference that sweat bees commonly nest in the mountains and near graves which explained how they had come into contact with He.