A doctor in Taiwan performed what’s thought to be the first-ever operation to extract four live sweat bees from behind a woman’s eyes.
“Under the microscope, I slowly pulled them out, one after another,” Dr. Hung Chi-ting, an ophthalmologist at Fooyin University Hospital in southern Taiwan, said at a news conference last week, according to The New York Times.
The woman, 28 and identified by her last name of He, was basically the victim of a so-called freak accident. She was participating in an annual tomb-cleaning festival when she felt what she thought was sand in one eye, news outlets reported. She rinsed her eye with water, but when it became painfully swollen and started tearing, she sought out medical attention.
That’s when Hung, to his amazement, found the tiny live bees behind her eye. He slowly extracted them by their feet and was “shocked” that they were still alive, the BBC reported.
Sweat bees, or halictidae, are found around the world and are attracted to sweat and tears. They usually feed on pollen and nectar, but also need salt produced by humans and animals, according to the Times. The tiny bees, about a quarter inch long rarely sting, unless attacked.
"These bees don't usually attack people but they like drinking sweat, hence their name," Hung said.
He also said that something as simple as a gust of wind could have blown the bees into He’s eye.
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