The dangerous drinking game of vodka eyeballing has been widely criticised for its damaging effects to players' eyesight, which may require corrective treatments such as LASIK eye surgery in the long term.
Dangerous global trend
The vodka eyeballing trend is thought to have begun in Las Vegas bars, where it was performed by bar staff as a stunt for tips, but the recent surge in popularity primarily spread from the UK to other parts of the world as people uploaded videos of themselves lifting a bottle of vodka to their open eye to YouTube. The theory is that intoxication will be faster due to the shorter time it takes for the alcohol to enter the bloodstream. However, many medical experts and institutions have spoken out against this new trend, citing the danger of inflammation and thrombosis, which may first be experienced as permanent watering or soreness of the eyes.
What do the experts have to say?
Robert Stutman, president of the Maryland Optometric Association, says pouring vodka on the eyeball can have very damaging results.
"Vodka is about 40 to 50 per cent pure alcohol, which can take off the top layer of the cornea. It can cause scarring," said Dr Stutman. "Can it make you go blind? I suppose it probably could, if it causes severe enough scarring of the cornea.
This practice has been likened to pouring bleach directly into the eye, as the 40% alcohol content of vodka strips away the protective membrane covering the cornea. One of the most serious long term consequences of vodka eyeballing is scarring to this protective tissue, which can lead to permanent sight problems and may require corrective surgery.
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