Wednesday, June 26, 2013

[Optometry Student Share] Oculolinctus, an Eye-licking Fetish

The popularity of the bizarre practice, sometimes called 'worming', has been blamed for a rise in cases of conjunctivitis. And it freaks us out just to think about it

Warning: don't read this if you're eating, prone to sudden bouts of queasiness or unable to even think about Un Chien Andalou without simultaneously bursting into tears and dry-heaving. Believe me, I'm speaking from experience here.

Because this is an article about oculolinctus, an eye-licking fetish that is currently sweeping across the schools of Japan like, well, like a great big dirty bacteria-coated tongue sweeping across a horrific number of adolescent eyeballs.

Sometimes known as "worming" – which somehow makes this whole thing worse – oculolinctus is being blamed for a significant rise in Japanese cases of conjunctivitis and eye-chlamydia, which is actually a thing. It's apparently seen as a new second-base; the thing you graduate to when kissing gets boring.

The craze is thought to stem from a music video by Japanese emo band Born (there's a chance that the eyeball-licking scene was only included to distract everyone from the fact that the song sounds like it belongs on a menu screen for an EA Sports game about snowboarding from a decade ago, but at this point that's just speculation).

Tumblr, inevitably, is filling up with drawings and unnecessarily close-up photographs of the act, and YouTube is no stranger either. One theory about why it has taken off so spectacularly is down to the sheer number of nerve endings in the cornea. The eyeballs are incredibly sensitive because they need to detect grit and other small particles, and the sensation of oculolinctus is supposedly akin to that of toesucking.

Unwilling to try it myself – because my tongue isn't long enough, I don't want eye-chlamydia and just writing about this has made me retch uncontrollably – I can't tell you firsthand if that's true. Luckily, one student from the US Virgin Islands with an oculolinctus fetish has explained: "My boyfriend started licking my eyeballs years ago and I just loved it. I'm not with him any more but I still like to ask guys to lick my eyeballs ... it turns me on."

However, the dangers of oculolinctus are very real. As well as spreading pink-eye like nobody's business, there's also a risk of corneal scratching, which can lead to ulcers and blindness. Plus, there's a strong chance that you'll have to go to school the next day in an eye patch. At least with lovebites you could just throw on a poloneck jumper and be done with it.
Hopefully oculolinctus won't catch on here and will remain one of those peculiarly Japanese fads such as bagelheading (injecting saline into your forehead until it swells out of all proportion, yaeba (undergoing dental surgery to give you crooked teeth) and shippo (wearing a neurologically controlled tail that reveals your moods). Because frankly, if oculolinctus does ever make it to these shores, I'm never going to be able to look at a lychee again.

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