When people go to the barber, their end goal is typically a brand spanking new haircut. I mean, that’s pretty much what barbers are there for – to trim, style and shave the heads and beards of men (and women) from around the world.
But did you know that if you paid a visit to a barber in Chengdu, China, you could be opening yourself up for a rather more eye-watering treatment? Well, if you’re squeamish, you may want to brace yourself because this isn’t for the fainthearted!
works on a haircut stall
The entire process lasts about five minutes and starts withsterilizing the blade by putting iodine solution on it. The barber then pulls back the eyelid so that the eyeball is exposed as much as possible (ouch!) before finally getting to work.
The eyeball is then ‘cleaned’ by gently scraping its surface with a sharp blade.
Gaowu has been offering the service on his haircut stall for over 40 years, and the majority of his customers tend to be elderly members of the public. In fact, Gaowu only provides this services to customers over 30 as younger people tend not to have much dirt in their eyes.
The veteran barber is one of very few who are allowed to carry out the practice because there is a shortage of young practitioners.
According to the South China Morning Post, about 60 years ago the practice was traditionally used as a method for treating trachoma – an infectious disease that roughens the eyelids.
The practice is obviously extremely risky even when carried out by a veteran barber such as Gaowu. Exposing a body part as vulnerable as the eyes to a razor-sharp blade could very easily result in a slip-up and a painful one at that.
But some people are more than willing to take this risk. If you want to see what the procedure looks like in practice, here it is in all its glory: