A Peruvian school teacher blinded four of her pupils and left 20 suffering from severe eye irritation after she used a traditional hair shampoo to wash away hair lice, parents of the children and medical staff said on Tuesday.
The state school teacher used a mixture of alcohol and seeds from the cherimoya fruit on the children, aged between 4 and 5 years old, on Monday to rid a local bout of hair lice in the remote coastal town of Paijan, 355 miles (570 km) north of Lima.
The mixture had run down into the children’s eyes and “has affected four children who cannot see. It has damaged their retinas,” an assistant nurse at a hospital in Paijan, who declined to be named, told Reuters.
The children were taken to a hospital in the provincial capital of Trujillo for treatment, the nurse said.
The four are totally blinded, but doctors have yet to determine whether this is permanent.
One parent, Natividad Mendoza, told RPP radio 20 other children had suffered serious eye irritation from the shampoo.
The anti-lice remedy is used along the impoverished coastal towns of northern Peru. Locals boil the cherimoya seeds, add them to alcohol and rub the mixture into children’s hair.
Police said no action had been taken against the teacher.