A 22-year-old boy presented to a hospital emergency room in India with redness, pain and decreased vision in his left eye, where he had received a bee sting an hour earlier. Although the man had 20/20 vision in his right eye, with his left eye he could only see hand movements near his face.
The doctors at Kasturba Medical College in Manipal noticed a diffuse haze in his left eye due to swelling and a bee sting embedded in his eyeball, surrounded by dirt.
Bee stings directly on the cornea of the eye are rare, but when they occur there is a risk that the corneal tissue will fail and become cloudy, which is called corneal decompensation. There is also the possibility of secondary glaucoma, in which the pressure inside the eye increases and causes damage to the optic nerve and even a loss of vision.
The man was treated with antibiotic eye drops and a local anesthetic before the sting was removed, according to the study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The wound was then thoroughly cleaned and closed with corneal sutures. For two more weeks, the patient took glucocorticoids, antibiotics, and eye medications to prevent inflammation, pain, and secondary infection.
Only after three months, the eye recovered to a great extent. The swelling of the cornea had completely subsided and the man’s vision in his left eye reached 20/40, without yet fully recovering.
A 22-year-old man presented with pain, redness, and decreased vision after a bee sting in the left eye. Ocular examination showed diffuse corneal haziness with a retained stinger.
— NEJM (@NEJM) December 6, 2020