Vodka eyeballing a risky idea -


Vodka shots in your eye could make you go blind

Some people think it's nothing more than a harmless drinking game. Others say the whole thing's a hoax and that nobody in their right mind would take a vodka shot to the eye.

It's called "vodka eyeballing" and experts say it's neither harmless or fake.

It's a drinking fad that has sparked a surge on YouTube. It's called "vodka eyeballing" and there are over 1,300 videos showing party kids pouring vodka directly into their eyes. One video has gotten more than 150,000 views and experts are worried that other kids are being tempted to do the same.

Why do they do it? Some "eyeballers" think it will get them drunker faster. Others do it just to show off.

Dr. John Nishimoto is a professor at the Southern California College of Optometry.

"They're not thinking of the consequences. They're acting foolishly. They should never, ever do it," Dr. Nishimoto says.

"Getting vodka in the eye is similar to getting a chemical burn, like getting battery acid into the eye. The eye tissue is very delicate and cannot handle the high concentrations of ethanol that's within the vodka and it can lead to a lot of damage to the tissues in the eye and obviously lead to blindness," explains Dr. Nishimoto. 

The alcohol strips away the protective membrane protecting the eye.

He continues by explaining "It continues to burn deeper into the tissues. It actually penetrates deeper and deeper. The pain is very excruciating because the damage to the tissues also affects the nerves."

Dr. John Nishimoto says anyone who gets vodka in their eyes should head for the shower immediately.

"We recommend flushing a minimum of 10 minutes. Sometimes up to 20 minutes. After you've rinsed the eye and if you feel a lot of pain and discomfort, I would recommend that you see your eye care professional as soon as possible," says Dr. Nishimoto. 

Dr. Lyndsay Elliott is a psychologist who counsels troubled teens. She says some of these "eyeballers" have emotional problems.

Dr. Elliott explains, "In my clinical practice I see this everyday. Parents don't want to believe that these types of things exist."

She continues to say, "The vodka eyeballing behavior is just a manifestation of whatever's going on underneath, whether it's depression, anxiety whether they're getting bullied at school. Because they're looking at going to these behaviors as a way to get relief from whatever they're struggling with."

Of course, not every eyeballer has a mental health issue. Dr. Elliott says many are just reckless teens who just don't realize the danger of pouring vodka in your eye.

"Teenagers are the most vulnerable to making risky choices because they can't foresee all the consequences of their actions," Elliott says. 

She says parents can help prevent their kids from engaging in harmful stunts like vodka eyeballing through a little role play.

"You want to be able to present scenarios to them where they can think things through and then be able to make a good choice to protect themselves," Elliott states. 

And make sure they fully understand that the party kids they see online are, in reality, at great risk for serious eye trauma and even blindness.

The experts also say parents should remind kids that online video postings of drinking stunts can make such destructive behaviors seem more popular than they really are.

Copyright 2013 America Now. All rights reserved. 

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