15 Stories #11 The Bee Scan

15 Stories to Celebrate 15 years……..

#11 The Bee Scan

I was walking into work one day when I noticed a Bee on the ground. I found myself wondering what a Bee’s eye would look like on our 3D scanner, and whether anyone had actually done this before.

I took it to work and scanned it.

It actually looked a little bit like a human eye and mimicked a human condition called Peter’s Anomaly. It looked so similar that I decided I would use it to try and trick some of the consultants at Sunderland Eye Infirmary.

I took the images to the hospital and pretended to ask the their opinion of the scans. “I’m not sure what it is, what do you think? Is it Peter’s Anomaly?” I’d leave them arguing over it for 20mins before revealing it was actually not at all what they thought but was actually a Bee’s eye.

It was one of the consultants that suggested I should send it into Nature’s EYE Journal. (They have a reputation for printing unusual and unique photographs.) I did this and got a reply from the Editor of the journal Professor Andrew Lotery. He said they liked the scan and would be considering publication.

I didn’t hear anything for a long while and assumed they must have changed their minds.

A few months later one of our patients Carlos Frenk came in for his eye test. Carlos is a very engaging person and is always interested in hearing about new things. We ended up chatting about the Bee scan and he really liked the story.

Carlos is also a very influential person and gets invited to lots of important dinners. That weekend he was invited to lunch at the home of a philanthropist called Damon de Laszlo in London. That same evening I received an email from Professor Lotery who edited the EYE Journal.

It turns out that Prof Frenk and Prof Lotery ended up sitting next to each other at lunch. At some point in the dinner Carlos started telling the table about his local Optician who had scanned a Bee’s eye and how unusual it was. Andrew realised that he was part of the story and he had a copy of the scan on his laptop!

It really is a very small world.

The Bee ended up being published on the front cover of the Sept 2014 issue of EYE.

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