Dr Chioma Uchendu, a consultant ophthalmologist at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Umuahia, has warned against the use of breast milk and urine to treat eye infections.
Uchendu issued the warning while speaking in an interview on the World Sight Day celebration in Umuahia on Thursday.
She described the use of such traditional medications as harmful to the eye, which is capable of causing blindness.
She said: “Some women still put breast milk in their babies’ eyes. They argue that breast milk has anti-bodies.
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“Yes, it has. But what about the glucose, lactose or milk components of the breast milk?
“These are things that can even become what we call culture media.
“If there is already an organism (an infection in the eye) and you put sugar and all those things, the organism will just relax well and start to grow.”
She further warned those who use urine for eye treatment. According to her, such urine could contain bacteria called Neisesseria gonorrhoea, saying they could also cause blindness.
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“Most people are carriers of this organism and when it gets into the cornea it starts destroying it and the person comes out with blindness,” she noted.
Uchendu said the essence of this year’s World Sight Day, with the theme, “Sight First”, was to create awareness on why people should keep their sight.
She raised concerns about the growing eye problems globally, saying that about 80 per cent of blindness could either be avoidable or treatable.
According to her, the world’s most common cause of blindness is cataract, which she stated was normal with ageing, but could be cured with a cataract extraction surgery.
The ophthalmologist said that cataract attracts other eye defects like refractive error and glaucoma, urging regular eye check.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), disclosed in its latest report, that “at least 2.2 billion people in the world have a vision impairment or blindness.
“At least one billion have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed,”it stressed.