Eye Shaving: A Traditional Practice In China

In Chengdu, the capital of China’s southwestern province of Sichuan, 62-year-old barber Xiong Gaowu has an outdoor haircut stall where you can get your eyeballs washed with a razor-sharp blade.

He has been offering this service for over 40 years and has never had a problem. Or rather, no one who had had his blade lightly scraped against their surface of their eyeball by him has ever had one, Tribune reported.

The procedure apparently takes five minutes and involves pulling the eyelid back to expose the eyeball, which is then ‘cleaned’ by shaving and scraping its surface with the blade.

An iodine solution is added for sterilisation before eye drops are applied to the blade. The upper and lower eyelids are then done separately.

The method allegedly allows Xiong Gaowu to clean the inner eyelid, enabling people to see clearer.

He treats eight customers per week charging 80 yuan (RM48) per treatment. His customers usually opt to shave their eyes after a haircut.

“I was afraid of it at the beginning, I didn’t feel confident. After more and more of practice, I became bolder. It was difficult at the beginning, but it became a piece of cake afterwards. Very easy,” he said.

Most of the people undergoing the ‘eye shaving’ procedure are of an older generation and have been treating their eyes in such a manner for decades.

Ophthalmologist Qu Chao explained that the practice treats sebaceous or oily glands on the eyelids.

“Patients will feel that their eyes are dry and uncomfortable when the meibomian glands are blocked. When he is ‘shaving’, it is most likely that he is ‘shaving’ the meibomian glands. He will also do some eye massaging to make the patients feel comfortable,” she said.

However, Dr Chao warned of the risk of infection if the equipment was not properly sterilised.

“The procedure could spread diseases,” she added.

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