Man Suffers a Rare Bee Sting Directly To the Eyeball

In what may be the biological equivalent of getting struck by lightning, a very unlucky man in Philadelphia took a very rare bee sting directly to the eyeball, and things went downhill from there. The unidentified man went to the emergency room, where doctors attempted to extract the insect’s stinger from the man’s right eyeball. Soon it became apparent that they didn’t get it all. Two days after the attack, the man went to the Wills Eye Hospital with worsening vision and pain in the pierced eye. At that point, the vision in his right eye had deteriorated, with the eye swollen, inflamed and bloodshot. Blood was visibly pooling at the bottom of his iris, and right at the border between the 55-year-old’s cornea and the white of his eye, ophthalmologists spotted the problem: a tiny spear-like fragment of the bee’s stinger still stuck in place. The white arrow in the photo below shows the location of the stinger fragment, while the asterisk marks the pooled blood.

After finally getting the tiny dagger completely out of the eye, the man was prescribed a topical antibacterial and steroid eye drops for inflammation. One troubling aspect of the case is that it’s unclear why the man was stung to begin with. According ophthalmologist Talia Shoshany, the man worked on a property with a beehive, but he didn’t work directly with the insects. He reported that he just walked by and several bees flew up to him, with one stinging him in the eye. It’s unclear what provoked them.