Few actions bring a hotel doctor more pleasure than removing something from a guest’s eye. Patients have kissed my feet in gratitude.

It’s easy. With one hand, I lay a Q-tip horizontally across the upper lid. With two fingers of the other hand, I grasp the eyelashes and fold the lid back over the Q-tip, exposing its underside. That’s usually where a speck lies. Experts warn never to try to remove something on the eyeball itself, but I’ve never encountered this.

This agreeable experience doesn’t happen often: thirteen times according to my records. Mostly, guests who think they have something in their eye are suffering a corneal abrasion. This was the case fifty-four times.

The cornea is extremely sensitive; injuries produce intense discomfort, but minor ones heal in a day or two. I prescribed antibiotic drops and an oral pain remedy. Patients yearn for the anesthetic drops I use during the examination, but they damage the eye when used regularly.

Mike Oppenheim