If there was a Chinese version of “Sweeney Todd”, we reckon this would come close to it.

An “ancient technique” that uses a sharp blade to clean the dirt in a person’s eyes still exists in China. The exact term is called eyeball scrapping, and the trade is still practised by Sichuan barbers.

Eyeball Cleaning
Source: NetEase via Next Shark

Take barber Xiong Gaowu for example. Besides cutting hair, his business in Chengdu also involves him using his special skills as an “eye-cleaner”. The procedure is actually quite scary, especially if you’ve never attempted something like this before. In addition to getting rid of filth on the eyes, it is said that eyeball scrapping also cleans out conjunctivitis and mote on the cornea.


Xiong starts off by applying sanitising solution before treating his customers. Using his fingers to hold open the eyelids, he then proceeds to scrape the inside of people’s eyelids. The same method is repeated on the other eye. The whole process requires approximately 5 minutes. By the end of it, tears can be seen streaming down patron’s face due the scrapping.

Eyeball Cleaning
Source: NetEase via Next Shark

According to the 62-year-old elderly man, he has been studying this ancient trade since he was 17 years old. He trained for 3 years before starting to earn an income. The rest, as they say, is history. Xiong has been “cleaning” people’s eyes with a blade for the past 40 years.

This disappearing tradition is hardly practised nowadays due to its high risk of infection and danger. The master has to possess strong and steady hands during the eyeball scrapping process. However, one wrong move and the client could become blind.

You can watch Xiong in action here:


Who would be brave to have your eyeballs clean using this method? Not us though.

Source: Next Shark/ Featured image: NetEase.

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