The site for all things eye-related
I’ve practiced medicine in different areas of the country and come across some interesting cultural traditions when it comes to things people put into their eyes. Surprisingly, you can’t find any of this stuff in medical textbooks.
For example, the treatment of eye irritation or pink eye in one culture is lemon juice. Yes, I’ve had patients come into the ER with very irritated eyes. When asked what happened, they told me that their eye was bothering them, so they squeezed a lemon into it. Ouch! Not only is lemon juice unlikely to treat any ailment of the eye, but it may also cause some serious eye irritation. I would not recommend trying this at home.
Another treatment for eye infection and irritation I’ve run into is urine. I do not know where this one came from, but I also advise against putting your own urine or anyone else’s urine into your eye to treat anything. At best, you’ll end up with an irritated eye. At worst, you will get a nasty eye infection with a STD like gonorrhea or chlamydia. Yes, this is not only possible, but it happens all the time. In one year, I think I treated at least five people who had STD eye infections from putting urine into the eye.
More bodily fluids…
Another thing you should not get into your eye is saliva. You may have heard that if you run out of contact lens solution, you should use your saliva instead. This is not a good idea. Contact lens solution and saline are sterile and keep nasty bugs out of your eyes. If you haven’t heard, the human mouth is probably the dirtiest place in your body and contains scores of virulent bacteria. If you put saliva onto your contacts or in your eyes, you risk getting a really bad eye infection.
Semen is also another bodily fluid you should avoid getting into your eye. Some out there actually want to do this to satisfy their sexual fantasies. I try not to judge other people’s beliefs and practices, but if you perform this act, the recipient will end up with an irritated, painful, and red eye. Plus, you risk the same potential STD eye infections that come with getting urine into the eye.
Recently, I learned that some people believe that putting honey into the eye can cause the eye color to lighten. I guess people will go to extremes to turn their brown eyes blue, but unfortunately there is no way to do this. Sorry, honey will not lighten your eye color. In fact, any homemade eye solution (including homemade contact lens solution) carries the risk of serious eye infections like acanthamoeba. So not only will honey water keep your eyes brown, but you could also end up with a nasty eye infection that is treated with pool cleaner. (Yes, you read that right — acanthamoeba is treated by putting pool cleaner into your eye — double ouch!)
Have you heard of any other remedies for the eye that you are curious about? Please leave a comment below.