Eye-Cleansing Service Using Traditional Chinese Medicine

On a year-end vacation, Ooi Poh Mei had some free time and decided to learn how to clean his grandfather’s eyes at the age of 16.

Using ink, copper wire, bamboo stick, cotton, and a concoction of 10 different herbs, Poh Mei’s family-owned eye cleaning business, Hwang I Care in Lorong Soo Hong, Georgetown, has been around since a century.

It was brought by his great-grandfather from Fujian, China. Poh Mei is the 4th generation to take over this family business.

I always thought our tears alone were a natural eye cleanser, but Poh Mei explained how their company helps clients like our tears can’t.

“Customers come to complain about the feeling of dry eyes, itching, dampness or stickiness. Their eyes are wet because they are too dry or too dirty, hence the excess tears.

“When tears and dirt stick together, they make the eyes uncomfortable. But that sticky feeling could also come from frequent use of eye drops or wearing contact lenses, ”she told Vulcan Post.

The herbal concoction and the device used in the procedure / Image Credit: Hwang I Care

The eye cleansing process

The deepest that we have cleaned into our eyes, especially for people who wear makeup, is just the waterline. Poh Mei’s cleaning service goes beyond that.

Therefore, it is really important for her clients to be able to relax, otherwise it would be difficult for her to clean her eyes.

“There has never been a time when a cleaning procedure has gone wrong, and I will never let it happen,” said Poh Mei.

“For clients who are very anxious, I will put a warm towel over their eyes so they can relax first. If it still doesn’t work and they try to close their eyes, I’ll stop the process and ask them to come back when they’re ready.

Relax their eyes with a warm towel before cleaning / Image credit: Hwang I Care

When clients are not ready, she cannot turn their inner eyelids properly for cleaning, which is why this service is only for those who can relax completely.

She sterilizes the stick before each use with hot water and applies a hand sanitizer each time before wrapping the cotton on the stick.

Although she can use cotton swabs to clean her eyes, she prefers to avoid them because they are too harsh and can cause discomfort in clients’ eyes.

After the cleanse was finished, Poh Mei told us that his clients would say they felt their eyesight had improved with less itching and more relaxed eyes overall.

Whether you choose to clean one or both eyes, the service costs RM30 per person. While not that lucrative for a business, it is enough for them and the store to survive.

Its loyal customers range from once a week to once a quarter of the year. It also has external clients who only come when they visit Penang.

What does modern medicine say about this traditional practice?

Now, Poh Mei’s service is not the one you commonly hear about in Malaysia. In fact, she doesn’t know anyone else who does the same job of cleaning her eyes as her family.

For those who do not know or do not regularly resort to traditional Chinese medicine, you can raise your eyebrows skeptically.

Wishing to obtain the opinion of an optometrist on this practice, I contacted the Pott Glasses team. To begin with, I asked them if tears were enough to clean our eyes and if we really needed an external cleanser to deep clean our eyes.

“It is true that our tears can be natural cleansers for dust and pollutants, but due to the current situation where many people have dry eyes, our tears may not be enough to drain these dust and pollutants,” they explained to Vulcan. Publish.

“This is why the eyelid wipes, hot squeeze and preservative-free artificial tears help us keep our eyelids clean and prevent these dust and pollutants from causing further damage to our eyes.”

Debris from her clients’ eyes / Image credit: Hwang I Care

We use our phones and computers frequently, which reduces our blink rate, allowing our tears to evaporate easily and to be replenished less.

Hot compressions are therefore important because they help soften the oils in our glands, allowing more tears to work better, which Poh Mei uses to help relax his clients’ eyes.

“What about herbal medicine and the device used to cleanse the eyes? Are they safe? I asked the optometrists.

“Herbal treatment can be helpful at a certain concentration, which can lead to side effects or complications. In our opinion, it will be better to use the methods that have been clinically proven, because they are safer and do not need to worry too much.

“Cotton wrapped around the metal rod is also safe, but you need to be careful of potential rust that can occur,” they shared with Vulcan Post.

They also added that it is important for anyone performing these procedures to wear gloves, as the eyes are very sensitive and could be easily infected.

Compare modern medicine to traditional Chinese medicine

After getting to know both sides of the story, I can deduce two things:

  1. There is a need for deeper eye cleaning as a service, especially nowadays.
  2. Poh Mei’s eye cleaning practices are safe as long as she regularly changes the metal rods and maintains a certain concentration of the herbal concoction.

While it’s great that Poh Mei sanitizes her hands before each session, it could increase client confidence if she also used disposable gloves.

In every company, there are bound to be skeptics, even more so for a unique company like Poh Mei’s. But negativity doesn’t deter her, as the results and feedback she’s gotten are all the evidence she needs to keep going.

If our treatment is useless, we won’t have so many customers who come to try it and advertise it for free. If our treatment was harmful, we would not have been able to stand for over a century and transmit this activity before. the 4th generation. Never try, never know. Let the result tell the truth instead.

Ooi Poh Mei, current owner of Hwang I Care.

  • You can read more about Hwang I Care here and Pott Glasses here.
  • You can read more startups we wrote here.

Featured Image Credit: Ooi Poh Mei, current owner of Hwang I Care

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