Eyeball Licking – Trendy Way to Overburden Healthcare

Not to put too fine a point on this, but ‘worming’ or ‘oculolinctus’, other names for eye-licking, is just a bad idea.

Various news agencies have reported recently on the spike of conjunctivitis (bacterial ‘pink-eye’ infections) in Japan from people licking other people’s eyeballs. OK, that’s just weird. No two ways about it.

Our mouths are rife with all manner of bacteria, but we are well-equipped to deal with this as the mouth itself has many defenses built right in, not to mention the very acidic and bacteria-unfriendly environment of the stomach. The eyes, on the other hand, are not designed to easily deflect bacterial attacks from ‘mouth bugs’.

The eye has a number of natural defenses against infection, but it is ideally suited to fend off certain bacterial attacks from bugs that are commonly found on the skin, the so-called natural ‘flora’ of the outer protective layer of our body. However, when other less common germs from the mouth are introduced directly to the moist outer layers of the eye by the rubbing action of the tongue, no one can really tell where things will go, but the risks certainly skyrocket.

Not to put too fine a point on this, but ‘worming’ or ‘oculolinctus’, other names for eye-licking, is just a bad idea. One story reports that 1 in 3 kids in Japanese Gr 7 classrooms has tried this. The consequence is that many more people will end up in publicly funded medical care for the simple desire of doing something silly. Of course, optometrists will be happy to assist and represent very good value for the healthcare dollars spent, but it would be best to simply avoid this silliness. Our healthcare budget is already ballooning without this sort of ‘help’.

In case your children need convincing that this can have serious consequences, simply do a Google image search for ‘bacterial conjunctivitis‘ and then let them decide if the effects of this ‘fetish’ are equally as appealing as ‘fitting in’ with the crowd.

If you have any concerns about your eye or vision health, contact your optometrist as soon as possible. All medical services are covered under Alberta Health Care.

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