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Thursday , January 2 2014
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Eye-Ball Licking

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By Laura Coburn

Eye- Ball licking, also known as “worming” is a rapidly growing practice among adolescents in Japan.  It is exactly what it sounds like- yes, one person licking another person’s eyeball.

The fad has swept across middle and high schools in Japan, with couples engaging in the practice as an expression of intimacy. Eye-ball licking is comparable to kissing or fetishes like licking another’s toes.

Not only has the act received media attention for its bizarre and unconventional nature, but it also because it is the cause of widespread eye diseases among the eye-licking lovers. Sties,  Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, has been rapidly spreading across middle and high schools- so much that eye patches appeared to be a new fashion trend.

A middle school teacher released a memo (below), which was translated from Japanese to English, reporting having caught a young couple engaging in “worming” during gym class.

“After class one day, I went into the equipment store in the gymnasium to tidy up. The door had been left open, and when I looked inside, a male pupil and a female pupil had their faces close together and were kind of fumbling around. Could it be bullying? I wondered, but when I had a good look, the boy was licking the girl’s eye! Surprised, a shouted “What are you doing? Stop it at once!” and the two of them were so shocked they jumped apart. The girl burst into tears, and the boy just went bright red and was shaken up. At any rate, to try to calm them down I took them to the janitor’s room and listened to their story.”

The licking quickly transmits bacteria from the mouth to the recipient’s eye, leading to potential outbreaks in conjunctivitis and keratitis, corneal infection. Dr. Rahul Pandit of The Methodist Hospital further explains that, “all sorts of bacteria exist in the mouth which are not present in the eye, and it is possible that other types of infection such as Herpes (from a cold sore) or fungus (patients with oral thrush) or other infectious agents could severely damage the eye.”

While these eye infections are curable without permanent damage, Pandut says that it is not always the case. “…Certainly if the infection spreads onto the cornea, an ulcer can develop which can lead to severe vision loss, and even loss of the eye,” Pandut describes.

Another risk factor involved is contact lenses, which can also advance eye infections. “If a person were wearing a contact lens at the time of the eye licking episode, it is much more likely they would develop a severe infection,” Pandut warns.

Surgery may be needed to cure severe cases of infection. “Permanent scars in the cornea can result in permanent loss of vision,” Pandut says. “It is only a matter of time before someone undergoes eye licking, perhaps with a contact lens in position, and gets a severe bacterial, viral, or even fungal infection that results in severe pain, loss of vision, and a need for surgical removal of the eye.”

Despite health risks, Japanesse youth continue to engage in eye-ball licking and even more are continue to test it out. The craze is said to have stemmed from a music video by a Japanese band, Born. The video shows a woman holding a knife licking the lead singer’s eye, as he is chained to a chair.

Watch the music video here (3:30):

BORN - Spiral Lie

 

eye licking

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