Hesperian Health Guides

Hesperian Health Guides

Traditional beliefs and eye medicines

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HealthWiki > Helping Children Who Are Blind > Chapter 16: Why Children Lose Their Vision and What We Can Do > Traditional beliefs and eye medicines


People have different traditional beliefs about what causes blindness. Some people believe that a child is blind because the parents have done something wrong. Others believe that a “black witch moth” flew by the baby’s face, causing her to be blind. And some people think that a child is blind because someone has done evil to the child’s mother and the child is “witched.” None of these cause blindness.

There are traditional medicines which can help treat eye problems. But before using any medicine, traditional or modern, make sure that the medicine cannot harm the person in any way. Here are some general things to remember about traditional cures for health problems:

  • The more cures there are to treat the same problem, the less likely it is that any of them will help.
  • Disgusting cures rarely help people.
  • Never use human or animal excrement as a cure. It can give the person an infection.
  • The more the cure looks like or resembles the sickness, the more likely its benefits come only from the power of belief.


Eyes are fragile. It can be dangerous to put herbs and other materials in the eye because they can cause infections.


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