‘Eyeballing’ alcohol causes concern in community

By By Jordan Maser Staff Writer

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It is Friday night, and junior John* walks into a house party. He sees a group of people in what appears to be excruciating pain surrounding the bar. They are eyeballing vodka, and he decides to join them−a decision he will soon regret.
Eyeballing vodka is when a shot of vodka is poured into the eye to quicken the rate of intoxication. This unique way of consuming alcohol originated in England, and according to a May 2010 AOL Health article, it is a new trend and a rising concern among high schools and colleges in the US. Not only does it inflict pain instantly, but it can also permanently affect vision.
“The stinging lasted about an hour or two,” John said. “[My vision] was blurry for the first 10 to 15 minutes.”
According to a Jan. 17 Daily Telegraph article, some students who have heard of eyeballing claim that it will them drunk more quickly than oral consumption. However, experts feel that there is no reason that eyeballing vodka can get one drunk faster because there is such little alcohol actually absorbed into the system. The article goes so far as to say that eyeballing “won’t really have an effect.”
This drinking game, however, can inflict permanent vision problems. According to local ophthalmologist Alma Hernandez, the alcohol peels off the protective membrane covering the eye, which causes stinging. This makes the eye susceptible to infection and scarring.
“When alcohol comes into contact with the eye, it burns the cornea,” Hernandez said. “In the worst case scenario, you could become blind.”
There are Facebook groups and hundreds of YouTube videos dedicated to eyeballing vodka, but despite its online presence, some teens, such as senior Molly Shutt believe the trend is far less prevalent than the media and outraged parents would make it seem.
“It’s not real,” Shutt said. “It’s something that adults think teens do and then it blew up into something bigger than it really is.”
Corporal Ken Matney of the Rockville City Police Department, however, has witnessed instances of eyeballing vodka at high school parties within the county and warns teens against it. 
“I think kids are smart enough to realize it’s just painful,” Matney said. “What are you going to do if you go blind? Think. You don’t know what the effects are going to be.”

* Name has been changed to protect student’s privacy.AS