Doctors Found Four Bees Living in One Woman’s Eye. Here Are Three Other Stories That Will Make You Squirm.

Nothing is safe.

Milos Batinic / Shutterstock

A Taiwanese woman experienced the stuff of nightmares when doctors pulled four live bees out of one of her eye sockets. The otherwise harmless sweat bees had been living off her tears. Though a freak occurrence that was described as a “world first” diagnosis,” it isn’t the only strange case of foreign bodies turning up in people’s eyes.

Buckle up for a look back at a few other eye mishaps that have made medical history.

Worms

In 2016, an Oregon woman pulled 14 tiny worms out of her eyes. Doctors identified the culprit as Thelazia gulosa, an eye worm that affects cattle and is spread by flies. In a case report on her condition two years later, doctors identified the woman—”an avid outdoorswoman” who reportedly lived on an inactive cattle ranch—as one of 11 humans reported to have contracted that genus of parasite in the United States, but the first to come into contact with that specific species. As one of the authors of the report, parasitologist Richard Bradbury, told NPR in 2018, “When you see flies around your face, swat them away before they land near your eyes.”

Similar cases have been reported in Europe and India, among other places.

Contact Lenses

Most people know it’s time to remove their contact lenses when their eyes get red and itchy at the end of the day. One 67-year-old woman didn’t notice that the contact lenses in her right eye had overstayed their welcome until she had accumulated 27 of them. Doctors discovered the clump of lenses before a routine cataract surgery and were shocked that the woman had never noticed it herself.

Amoebae

Perhaps more frightening than amassing a glob of contact lenses—or even bees—in the eye is the threat of an amoeba infestation. Acanthamoebae can cause serious infections and most commonly invade the eyes of those who do not store and clean their contact lenses properly. One in 33 million contact lens wearers contracts the parasite, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can cause a serious eye infection, which, according to the CDC, “can result in permanent visual impairment or blindness.” 

Then, of course, there are countless cases of people impaling their eyes with everything from colored pencils to metal nails, to name just two examples. In case these mishaps haven’t squicked you out enough, check out eyexam, the Instagram account dedicated to photos of foreign objects in and around people’s eyes. (Safety pins and paper clips are popular choices.)

Good luck getting some shut-eye tonight!

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate