Blinded by a bee sting

My eldest daughter was on a two-week field trip to a desert in Spain with her university as part of her Geology course. On the second Friday, she suffered one bee sting to an eyebrow and a second to an eyeball. This would trouble anyone, but it turned out my daughter is allergic to bee stings.

She went into anaphylactic shock and collapsed to the ground twitching and struggling to breath. Her face swelled considerably. Fortunately, the field team had good emergency procedures in place and she was with medical personnel and in receipt of an adrenalin shot inside of 40 minutes. She had stopped breathing in the last part of the journey to hospital. Rather more than just adrenalin was administered. Face swelling reduced rapidly but both eyes were badly swollen and she was no longer able to see anything in either eye.

Two days later, she returned on the scheduled flight with her co-students but had to be guided everywhere. A frightening experience.

My wife and I met her back at the university on Sunday evening and guided her to her room. She was clearly very tired but otherwise seemed in surprisingly good spirits. One week and many hospital tests later, her vision has started to return in both eyes and it looks like it will probably return fully in time. At the moment, she is able to see poorly and very blurred image, often double vision, no depth, and monochrome only. During the day, as she gets more and more tired, her vision deteriorates. She is also suffering nausea and sickness as well as a spinning sensation from the high doses of steroids she is on to completely remove the swelling (now mostly internal).

The thinking is that whilst the eyes themselves appear undamaged, the swelling put considerable pressure on the optic nerve. There may be damage, but we cannot tell yet. We are awaiting the results of an MRI scan to see if there are any other problems.

A difficult time for all of us.

2 thoughts on “Blinded by a bee sting

  1. It is worth saying that the staff at her university, Imperial College London, were magnificent in support to both my daughter and to my wife and I. They provided a flat next to the university for my wife and I to stay in at no charge whilst we supported out daughter, and did everything they could to reduce stress for all concerned.

  2. The great news is that she fully recovered vision in both eyes some weeks later. A brain scan showed no damage. The last part of recovery was to the colour vision, for a while she could see only in black and white.

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