The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog


When you think you've got it rough...

...try to remember that at least we have a modern medical system to help with dry eye.

Yemeni traditions in treating eye problems

According to eye doctors, dry eye and eye sensitivity are the most widely spread complaints from Yemenis all around the country....

There are a number of practices that ancient Yemenis used to cure some eye diseases. "When your eye hurts because there is something in it or the like, you can go to a women whose job is to use her tongue to clean your eye," said Om Abdulwase'e' Al-Qadi a local women from Sana’a. However, there is no specific place to find this woman who licks eyes.

Vegetables also are of great importance, especially among welders who frequently suffer from eye pains. There is a traditional remedy by cutting a potato into pieces after which a welder will open his eyes and put each piece on one eye. “The potato should not be hot. Cold potato pieces purify eyes. Tomatoes can do the same to eyes by cutting it into pieces too,” said Ibraheem Sanad, a welder.

Another tradition is that when any one feels an irritating sensation in his or her eye, he or she can go to a woman called Al-Monaqishah who checks his or her eye using a needle. "When you feel that your eye hurts, you can go to Al-Monaqishah, as we call her. She has a needle and cotton or other soft material handy, and she starts checking your eyes to purify them by using a needle," said Nabilah Al-Khaiat, a house wife. She added that this can be done by any mature member in the family.

Modern medicine is of course represented there as well...

"Al-Monaqishah can check your eye but can also increase your pain. Moreover, she can bring a new disease to your eyes such as cancer or any other disease because of using a needle which is mainly made to sew clothes, not to check people’s eyes,” said Mohammed Abdullah Ibrahhim, an ophthalmic surgeon.

Ibrahhim added that even the substances known as 'Kohl,' a black substance, and 'Ethmed,' a brown substance, are proved to include the amount of lead in the body which may cause eye cancer. Ethmed was mentioned in the hadiths, or the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. “Old Ethmed was known to purify the eyes and strengthen the eyesight, but today’s Ethmed is different and includes dangerous substances,” stated Ibrahhim.

That reminds me, didn't we have a long thread about Kohl awhile back on DryEyeTalk?