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A 39-year-old man with blindness following the application of raw cassava extract to the eyes
Digital Journal of Ophthalmology 2009
Volume 15, Number 2
May 30, 2009
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Abdulkabir A. Ayanniyi, MBBS, FMCOph | University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria
History
A 39-year-old male Nigerian farmer presented in the eye clinic at the University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti, Nigeria on April 21, 2008 because of bilateral vision loss, copious discharge from the eyes and severe ocular pain of one week duration. The eye complaints started with initial ocular discomfort and redness when the wind blew particulate matter into his right eye while riding a motorcycle. He started having ocular discomfort in the left eye on the following day. He consulted a local chemist who prescribed an unknown eye drop, which the patient applied to both eyes. He later applied cassava extract to his eyes that he prepared by soaking slices of raw cassava (Figure 1) in water in a clean container for about 45 minutes. The patient applied the extract to both eyes four times on the first day. However, he discontinued using it the following day due to increasing ocular discomfort. He also visited a church where the presiding priest gave him a “special oil” to rub on his head and “holy water” to drink as treatment for the ocular ailment. The ocular condition worsened as he started having copious ocular discharge, severe ocular pain, photophobia, and noticed failing vision that worsened over the following 2 days.
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Figure 1
Cassava tubers