LOS ANGELES — A dangerous drinking fad known as “Vodka eyeballing” is growing in popularity on college campuses in the UK and the United States, and experts say it could leave students blind.
So-called “eyeballers” claim it’s an instant high with a splash of alcohol giving them a buzz, literally, in the blink of an eye.
But, doctors say, it’s a dangerous trend that could cause permanent vision damage.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology issued the following statement:
A dangerous drinking game called “vodka eyeballing” is attracting public attention on YouTube. People need to be aware that anyone who pours vodka directly into his eye risks damaging the surface epithelial cells–often causing pain and infection. More seriously, ”eyeballing” can also lead to permanent vision damage by killing endothelial cells in deeper layers of the eye’s cornea. This is unlikely, but possible. The cornea is the clear outer part of the eye that focuses light and provides much of the optical power. Depending on the amount of alcohol and length of time it is in contact with the eye, epithelial cell loss could result in corneal ulcers or scarring, not to mention a great deal of pain. And if endothelial cells die off, vision recovery would be uncertain.
“Eyeballers” do not even get a “quick high” as claimed, because the volume of vodka absorbed by the conjunctiva and cornea is too small to have that effect.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology strongly advises the public not to engage in “vodka eyeballing.”
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