Home remedy to remove lice almost costs a seven-year-old her eyesight

Custard apple seed paste enters eye, harming the cornea of a Mumbai girl. Doctors raise concern over rising number of eye infection cases due to home remedies

When a mother got her seven-year-old daughter, Shama Sikand (name changed), to the JJ Hospital’s ophthalmology department with redness in her eye, little did she know that her home remedy to cure lice could cost her daughter her eyesight.

According to Dr Ragini Parekh, head of the ophthalmology department, Sikand was brought to the outdoor patient department (OPD) in second week of November. She had complains of watering eyes and had photophobia / light sensitivity. An eye check-up report revealed that her cornea was injured.

“A part of cornea’s job is to focus light, enabling us to see. The mother was clueless on what led to the cornea injury,” said Parekh. Taking a cue from a similar case of corneal erosion in an 18-year-old girl who visited the hospital a month back, Parekh asked the mother if she had applied any paste on her daughter’s hair.

corneal-erosion-15-11-2016“I was shocked to hear that like the 18-year-old girl, who we had treated for corneal erosion; in this case, too, sitaphal (custard apple) seeds paste was the culprit. Her mother confessed of applying the seed paste on hair to remove lice. While rinsing, some paste accidentally entered her eyes, which led to the injury,” explained Parekh.

She added that sitaphal seeds paste is toxic.

“Timely treatment saved eyesight of the girl. Injury to cornea due to home remedies is becoming common because of lack of awareness,” the doctor said.

Eye surgeons say anything which isn’t sterile shouldn’t be put in the eyes or enter the eyes. “Few months ago, we received an old lady with an eye infection. She had put potato slice on her eyes. It led to her losing eyesight. One should be careful while experimenting with their eyes, face and hair. Putting rose water, cucumber slice among others are very common reasons which lead to corneal injury, which may further lead to loss of eyesight,” said Parekh.