A barber in the Chinese city of Chengdu does some hair-raising things to his customers ― like shave their eyeballs.
Xiong Gaowu is one of a few barbers still practicing the age-old “art”(?) of eyeball shaving.
Yep, you read that right: The 62-year-old actually puts a sharp razor right on the eyeballs of his patrons and scrapes off any dirt and residue that might be there.
As terrifying as this looks, Xiong claims that in 40 years of eyeball shaving, he has never injured anyone, according to ShanghaiList.com.
Eyeball shaving was used in hospitals in the early 20th century to treat trachoma, a bacterial condition that is the most common infectious cause of blindness in the world, according to the World Health Association.
Back then, eye shaving was a way to scrape away the ulcers and scar tissue under trachoma patients’ eyelids, and stimulate the eyes enough to secrete a liquid that would moisten the eye sockets, according to the South China Morning Post.
But Qu Chao, deputy director of the ophthalmology department in the Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital, tells the paper that eyeball shaving is potentially dangerous, and has been phased out as other more cutting-edge ― and less cutting ― treatments have become available.
These days, the risk of trachoma can be reduced by improving sanitation and hygiene and can be cured with antibiotics.
Still, old habits die hard for some customers, such as the man who told the German news agency Ruptly that he sees results from each eyeball shave he gets.
“In the beginning, my eye was uncomfortable,” the man said in the video above. “And now it has been washed, it will be calmer.”