Among the disturbing tends of teens, many of which are alcohol related, a somewhat new one seems to be gaining popularity in Japan, spreading infection along with it.

It’s called  “oculolinctus” or “worming,” according to the Huffington Post. In essence, it’s supposed to be an intimate act that involves licking a person’s eyeball.

eyeball licking

(Image: Shutterstock.com)

HuffPost found, based on uploaded YouTube videos, that the practice has been around at least since the early 2000s. Shanghaiist’s James Griffiths wrote that he “with no small amount of trepidation [...] approached this story about an alleged craze among Japanese teens of licking each other’s eyeballs,” because it was so “insane” he felt it was likely fake.

But Griffiths found that the trend was very much real, citing a blog post by a middle school teacher who noticed her some of her students beginning to wear eye patches (emphasis added):

After class one day, I went into the equipment store in the gymnasium to tidy up. The door had been left open, and when I looked inside, a male pupil and a female pupil had their faces close together and were kind of fumbling around. Could it be bullying? I wondered, but when I had a good look, the boy was licking the girl’s eye! Surprised, a shouted “What are you doing? Stop it at once!” and the two of them were so shocked they jumped apart. The girl burst into tears, and the boy just went bright red and was shaken up. At any rate, to try to calm them down I took them to the janitor’s room and listened to their story.

[...]
Mr. Y immediately told the school staff the story. A classroom assembly for the year 6 students was held, and when each homeroom teacher questioned the students, it was revealed that a surprising one third of the kids had done “eyeball licking”, or had had their eyeballs licked.

The eye patches were not a fashion statement, but what students wore after contracting highly contagious conjunctivitis, or pink eye. The practice can also spread a form of chlamydia and herpes as well.

“Nothing good can come of this,” San Diego-based ophthalmologist Dr. David Granet told HuffPost. “There are ridges on the tongue that can cause a corneal abrasion. And if a person hasn’t washed out their mouth, they might put acid from citrus products or spices into the eye.”

Griffiths speculated that a music video by the Japanese band Born, which shows a woman licking the lead singer’s eyeball, could have increased the trend.

Here’s an example showing one teen apprehensive about having her eyeball licked (Note: content could be considered disturbing):

Here’s another shorter example:

(H/T: Gawker, Daily Mail)

Featured image via Shutterstock.com.