Experts Warn Eyeball Licking Trend Can Injure the Eye, Damage Sight

ABC News

View photo

.
gty close up eyeball thg 130614 wblog Experts Warn Eyeball Licking Trend Can Injure the Eye, Damage Sight

Experts Warn Eyeball Licking Trend Can Injure the Eye, Damage Sight

A new trend among Japanese teenagers called oculolinctus, also known as "eyeball licking," or "worming," is currently sweeping across the internet in videos and photos.

The bizarre trend has started popping up on Youtube, Tumblr and Twitter. The practice, in which teens show affection by licking their partner's eyeballs, may have started with a scene in a music video released last year from the Japanese band Born, which features a dramatic slow-motion scene of oculolinctus.

But experts are concerned that even if oculolinctius is done sparingly or on a dare, it could have very real consequences. Dr. Robert Cykiert, an associate professor in the department of ophthalmology at the New York University Langone Medical Center, said the surface of a healthy eye is normal mostly sterile, while the mouth is filled with bacteria and food particles.

"When you get licked on the eye, you're transferring dangerous bacteria to the eye," said Cykiert. "It's a very dangerous trend, to say the least."

Cykiert said transferring bacteria to the eye leaves people with a higher risk of contracting conjunctivitis or, more seriously, a corneal ulcer.

"[People] may have scarring of the cornea that can be permanent depending on the bacteria in germs … it may cause a perforation or hole to develop," said Cykiert, who has had to give some patients with corneal ulcers a cornea transplant.

While Cykiert said he hasn't seen evidence of "eyeball licking" in the U.S., he warns that teens should be wary of trying out the trend to prove their adoration as they can permanently damage their sight.

Instead, Cykiert suggests, "sticking with hand holding and kissing, stuff that's been around for millions of years."

View Comments (993)

Recommended for You

  • School shooter texted 'I'm sorry' to family before killings

    SEATTLE (AP) — Minutes before a Washington state high school freshman fatally shot four friends and then himself, he sent a group text message to his family outlining his funeral wishes and apologizing to the parents of the teenagers he was about to kill.

    Associated Press
  • N.Korea would have 'no chance' in a conflict with South: US

    North Korea would have no chance of defeating its southern neighbor and its allies in a conflict, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Tuesday, days after the peninsula appeared on the brink of armed conflict. Last month's inter-Korean crisis was triggered by landmine blasts that maimed two…

    AFP
  • Complex Media
  • Missouri executes man who raped, killed teenage girl

    Missouri on Tuesday executed a man who, along with a friend, pleaded guilty to the 1989 abduction, rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl, a state corrections department spokesman said. Roderick Nunley, 50, was pronounced dead at 9:09 p.m. CDT after receiving a lethal injection of drugs at the…

    Reuters
  • Mass grave found in northern Mexico

    A mass grave has been found in northern Mexico, authorities said Tuesday, as a rights group indicated it could contain 31,000 bone fragments corresponding to at least 31 bodies. The pit was discovered on a ranch in the town of Salinas Victoria, some 35 kilometers (22 miles) north of the industrial…

    AFP
  • Play

    Former pro wrestling star Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka charged in girlfriend's 1983 Lehigh County death

    Former professional wrestling star Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka has been charged with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of his girlfriend in Lehigh County more than three decades ago.

    KABC – Los Angeles
  • This year's El Nino weather pattern could be strongest on record: experts

    By Tom Miles GENEVA (Reuters) - The current El Nino weather phenomenon is expected peak between October and January and could turn into one of the strongest on record, experts from the World Meteorological Organization said at a news conference on Tuesday. Climate models and experts suggest surface…

    Reuters
  • Black Lives Matter movement experiencing growing pains

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Hundreds of Black Lives Matter activists, black and white, marched outside the Minnesota State Fair this weekend, hoping to bring attention to the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police.

    Associated Press
  • Woman Becoming Nun Needs Friend's Interest, Not Concern

    DEAR ABBY: I was best friends with "Joanne" after we met in middle school. She comes from a conservative Christian family and has three successful siblings. This has made her quirky, media-driven pursuits and city life a disappointment to her family. When we were teens and she learned that I was a…

    Dear Abby
  • View

    Kentucky county clerk refuses to issue same-sex marriage licenses (41 photos)

    Gay couples in a Kentucky county are expected at the courthouse door Tuesday morning after the Supreme Court ruled against a defiant clerk who has refused to hand out marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The Supreme Court ruled against the county clerk who refused to issue gay marriage licenses,…

    Yahoo News
  • A China meltdown? Why its Asian neighbors aren't worried.

    As the world worries that China’s economic troubles will cause a wide-reaching meltdown, China closest Asian neighbors are not yet panicking. Pacific-rim countries will surely be impacted by China’s four-year economic slowdown, which came into sharper focus in late August with a sudden stock market…

    Christian Science Monitor
  • Man who got life for marijuana charge goes free in Missouri

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A man sentenced to life without parole on a marijuana-related charge was freed Tuesday from a Missouri prison after being behind bars for more than two decades — a period in which the nation's attitudes toward pot steadily softened.

    Associated Press
  • Tennessee man, 76, charged with killing wife over church tithe money

    A 76-year-old Tennessee man was charged with first-degree murder after fatally shooting his wife because he thought she had stolen and hidden money he planned to tithe to his church, law enforcement officials said on Tuesday. Norman McKinney of Erwin, Tennessee, in the eastern part of the state,…

    Reuters
  • Rare Supermoon Lunar Eclipse Coming This Month

    The cosmic event will take place on the night of Sept. 27 when two periodic events -- supermoons and lunar eclipses -- will happen at the same time, making for a rare coincidence. A supermoon occurs when a full moon happens when it is at the closest point in its elliptical orbit around Earth,…

    ABC News
  • Apple’s plan to take on Netflix and Hulu is a brilliant move

    With rumors that Apple has plans to launch a TV subscription service in early 2016, we’ve now seen reports that the company also has its eyes set on perhaps entering the world of original content. As we reported yesterday, Apple executive Eddy Cue and members of his team have been meeting with…

    BGR News
  • Man mistaken for hat-wearing bank robber seeks $3.3 million

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Rodolfo Valladares wore the wrong hat to the wrong Miami bank while trying to cash a $100 check in a case of mistaken identity that's led to a court battle over $3.3 million.

    Associated Press
  • The N-Word Was Written On a Florida Family’s Lawn

    The family is understandbly angry.

    Complex Media