Thursday, May 11, 2017

Dental work and Blindness

1.      In my continuing pursuit of medical myths, I decided to tackle this one...


P    Pulling teeth can cause visual problems, even blindness.

Question:  Can pulling teeth cause visual problems?

P – Patient Information:  19 year old girl in Central Africa
I – Intervention:  teeth pulling
C – Comparison:  normal degeneration of visual acuity
O – Outcome:  blindness related to teeth pulling

I have had a number of people come to my clinic complaining of “blurry vision.”  Many of these patients are 40 years or older, and simply asking them to try on my reading glasses – they find out that they can see “much better.”  Some visual problems are related to other causality problems like diabetes or blood pressure issues.  However, there are a significant number of other people who need their teeth pulled and simply refuse to because, “later in life it will cause me to have vision problems.”  

 The first time I heard this I was totally caught off guard.  Where in the WORLD did this myth derive from?  So I did a little research and found that Africa isn’t the only location where this myth exists.  The good ol’ U.S. of A has this belief as well.   

The origin of this myth?  Here are some possibilities:

  In the era before antibiotics and modern medicine, upper tooth infections often did spread to the eye as well as the brain, leading to blindness and death in some cases.

§  The nerves and blood vessels supplying the eye tooth are similar in location and origin to those supplying the eye. You could incorrectly conclude that if you remove the tooth, the nerves and blood vessels going to the eye would be removed too.

Answer:  Removing upper, or any tooth for that matter does not have effect on a person eyesight.  The nerves which supply the eye and the teeth are different, hence no interconnection.” - Sujoy Chakraborty, BDS Dentistry, Dayananda Sagar College of Dental Sciences (2010)

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