Street barber performs traditional eyelid shave

Chinese street barber Xiong Gaowu deftly and very gently scrapes a straight razor along the inside of his customer's eyelid.

He is performing a traditional eyelid shave at his roadside location in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan.

Customers swear by the practice of "blade wash eyes", as it is known in Mandarin, saying they trust his skill with the blade.

One such customer, 68-year-old Zhang Tian, said: "My eyes feel refreshed after shaving and I feel comfortable."

Mr Xiong, 62, said he learnt the technique in the 1980s and serves up to eight customers a week, charging 80 yuan (S$16) a shave.

The technique appears to unblock moisturising sebaceous glands along the rim of the eyelid, said Ms Qu Chao, an ophthalmologist who works at a hospital in Chengdu.

"Patients will feel their eyes are dry and uncomfortable when the glands are blocked," she said.

"It is most likely that he is shaving the openings of these glands."

Ms Qu added: "If he can properly sterilise the tools that he uses, I can see there is a space for this technique to survive." - REUTERS