Enlarge /. Avoid bringing these near your eyeball.
There are few things that could really make 2020 worse than it already is. But a rare bee that stings directly in the eyeball could be one of them.
Doctors posted a picture of such an unusual impaling of the eye this week. The picture, which appears in the New England Journal of Medicine, also includes a brief account of the patient's condition and recovery. The details confirm that reading about this one year horror show can sometimes feel like you've been stabbed in the peeper repeatedly, but the reality is far more uncomfortable.
The patient was a 22-year-old man who showed up in a hospital emergency room with redness, pain, and blurred vision in his left eye that had suffered a bee sting about an hour earlier. Although the man had 20/20 eyesight in the right eye, he reported that he could only see hand movements near his face with the left eye.
Upon closer inspection (see here), doctors reported that his left eye saw diffuse cloudiness due to swelling and, most obviously, a bee sting still sticking out of his eyeball and surrounded by an eye area. In particular, the little spear was embedded in the man's cornea – the clear, dome-shaped outer layer of tissue at the front of the eye that helps focus the light.
Enlarge /. Corneal runs with a bee stinger are rare, doctors say. However, if they do occur, there is a risk that the corneal tissue will fail and become cloudy (corneal decompensation). There is also the possibility of secondary glaucoma, where the pressure in the eye increases, causing optic nerve damage and loss of vision.
Doctors gave the man some antibiotic eye drops and a local anesthetic before pulling out the stinger. The stab wound was then thoroughly cleaned and closed with corneal sutures. Ultimately, they prescribed the man prescriptions for glucocorticoids, antibiotics, and eye medications for two weeks, which together tried to prevent inflammation, pain, and secondary infections.
In a relatively happy ending, a three-month follow-up visit revealed that the man's eye had largely recovered. The corneal swelling had completely regressed and the man's vision in his left eye was 20/40.