Does drinking garri affects the eyes? See the Effect of garri on the eye, Does garri cause blindness, Effect of drinking garri at night.
How does garri affect your sight or vision? Can garri cause blindness?
Garri is a product of processed cassava which goes through several processes before being ready for consumption.
Most often,garri is processed under local and non caliberated systems. Like most tubers, cassava contains cyanide which together with sugar forms a compound(cyanogenic glycoside) which serves to prevent herbivores from attacking them. This isn’t a problem in other tubers and other palatable forms of cassava (fufu) since the heating decomposes the toxin. Cyanide toxin can be easily broken down via peeling,cooking etc.
Studies have also shown that fresh cassava plant contains potentially toxic levels of a cyanide. Toxicity occurs when cassava is eaten raw or it is not well processed when making garri.
It has been scientifically proven that a tuber of cassava contains few THOUSANDS parts per million (ppm) of cyanide in its compound form, whereas WHO claims the body needs less than or equal to 100ppm of cyanide in garri to avoid systemic toxicity or systemic poisoning.
A well processed and fortified garri can fall into the right category but how do we differentiate a well processed one with our crude technique of garri production?
Now, sustained intake of cyanide exposes the body systems to dangers. The cyanide toxins invades the thyroid gland and suppresses the production of thyroxin leading to goitre with its associated eye symptoms (thyroid ophthalmopathy). The cyanide in garri also suppresses the availability of natural vitamin A (which is paramount for retinal layer metabolism and a lot of optic nerve function) in the body.
Still on the effect of cyanide gotten from garri on the eye, it forms a compound with the amino acid components of the body’s natural antioxidants to reduce their (antioxidants’) function of mopping up free radicals that affects and injures the eye. This leads to corneal sheen dullness, cloudiness, incipient cataract and blindness in severe cases.
However, when it comes to eating garri as a solidified gel(eba),the risks mentioned above is highly reduced because the hot water goes on to further degrade the toxins but when it’s soaked with cold water and eaten,the individual remains at the mercy of the efficiency of the processing method.
The structures of the eye depend on micro and macro nutrients at every point in time to maintain cellular metabolism,which is why there is a fluid(aqueous humor)channel always going in and out of the eye globe to ensure nutrients gets to the inner structures. This channel and essential nutrients can be disrupted by the cyanide in garri especially in chronic garri drinkers.
When some of the eye structures don’t get nutrients,it can lead to burning sensations in the eye,itching,intermittent blurred vision(as if your vision is losing and gaining focus) etc
These can be easily avoided by ensuring to take only fortified garri and to take it alongside other food items to ensure other classes of food and nutrients are represented.
Lastly it’s best to make sure it’s not a frequent intake to avoid buildup of toxins in the system.
In summary, the effects of garri on the eyes are:
💠Attacks the optic nerve
💠Disrupts the supply of nutrients and removal of dangerous free radicals from the eye
💠Suppresses vitamin A, a well known eye vitamin in the eye.
Finally, When Garri is not well processed, the cynanide affects “The nerve at the back of the eye which conducts light sensation from the eye to the brain, which we call the Optic Nerve. This will damage the nerve and loss of sight (blindness) may result.