8/29/2014

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Not surprisingly, doctors say eyeball licking is a bad 'eye-dea'

Not surprisingly, doctors say eyeball licking is a bad 'eye-dea'

BEAVERTON, Ore. – Teens are posting videos of themselves licking each other's eyeballs on the Internet, but doctors are recommending they stop licking eyeballs, saying it could be dangerous.

The videos often show young people laughing and squealing as they encourage each other to do it.

Ophthalmologist Ron Allen of the Portland Clinic said the practice can cause problems.
 
"Kind of repulsive," he said. "I wouldn't recommend it."

Allen said the tongue can introduce microbes from the mouth into the eye.
 
"Sometimes that will cause the balance to be thrown off," Allen said. "The eye doesn't mount the proper immune response to that to bring down the bacterial population."

As a result, he said there could be infections, pain and vision problems. And, he added, some microbes will not respond to medicine.
 
"There are some that persist, despite the best antibiotics we have, and they can continue to wreak havoc on there and sometimes it could be potentially blinding," said Allen. "So don't do it."

The videos bring quite a reaction from viewers.

"Ahhhh!" said Brenda Clark, who saw the videos for the first time. I have a hard time putting my contacts in. I can't image someone's tongue coming at me. All bad!" 

"There's enough germs going on around here," said Debbie Snook, who also saw the videos. "I've had eye surgery myself.  It's not something you want to fool with."

Some viewers want to know why the teens would lick each other's eyes.
 
"Like, they're actually going to do that?" asked Kaitlin Klocke.

After thinking about her question, Klocke suggested an answer: "It's a shock thing, where they want to be cool and do something crazy."

A man who told us he took part in eyeball-licking in high school confirms that shock value has something to do with it.  He did not want to use his name for this story, but he said that he and his friends did it to impress each other, to be daring, and to "make your parents or any adult aghast."

A number of news reports circulated in July saying that there was an outbreak of eye infections in Japanese kids from eyeball-licking.  However, further reports said that the outbreak reports were unfounded.

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