Eyeball Licking: Dangers of Oculolinctus, New Fad Sweeping Japan

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Home / Eyeball Licking: Dangers of Oculolinctus, New Fad Sweeping Japan

Herpes simplex can infect the eyeball. Photo by: Hee K Yang, Young K Han, Won R Wee, Jin H Lee and Ji W Kwon; Department of Ophthalmology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

Tongue Abrasions Can Cause Corneal Ulcers

A corneal ulcer is an erosion or open sore in the outer layer of the cornea, which is often the result of a bacterial infection, fungus, or a parasite such as acanthamoeba. You can also get a corneal ulcer from abrasions, or cuts on the eyes. The tongue has ridges can cause damage to the cornea, so eye-licking can cause abrasions resulting in long-term damage.

Symptoms of a corneal ulcer include blurry vision, an eye that appears bloodshot, itching, pain, watery discharge, and a white patch on the cornea. Treatment will depend on the cause of the ulcer.

If bacteria caused your ulcer, you’ll probably end up with antibiotic drops, and potentially corticosteroid eye drops to reduce the swelling and inflammation. If the condition is severe, then you may need a cornea transplant.

Licking Eyeballs is Dangerous

Eyeball licking can cause some serious infections and damages to the eye which can lead to blindness if not treated. So far, the eyeball licking trend has not hit the United States – let’s hope it never does. Dr. Robert Cykiert,  an associate professor in the department of ophthalmology at the New York University Langone Medical Center told ABC News that he recommends “sticking with hand holding and kissing, stuff that’s been around for millions of years.” Good call.

Resources:

Medical News Today. Eyeball Licking Can Be Dangerous, Doctors Warn. (2013). Accessed June 16, 2013.

ABC News. Experts Warn Eyeball Licking Trend Can Injure the Eye, Damage Sight. (2013). Accessed June 16, 2013.

CBS News. Japanese “eyeball licking” trend carries blindness risk . (2013). Accessed June 16, 2013.

Langston, D. Herpes Simplex Virus in the Eye. (2013). Digital Journal of Ophthalmology. Accessed June 16, 2013.

Mayo Clinic. Pink Eye. (2011). June 16, 2013.

Medline Plus. Cold Sores. (2013). Accessed June 16, 2013.

Medline Plus. Corneal Ulcers. (2013). Accessed June 16, 2013.

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