The rare problem with BBQs and our eyes


Those looking forward to enjoying a BBQ this summer are being urged to make sure meat is properly cooked to avoid risking their eye health.

Not only can eating undercooked or raw meat sometimes cause a stomach upset, but researchers from Flinders University, Australia, have found that it can increase the risk of vision loss.

Giles Edmonds, Specsavers clinical services director, says: ‘A BBQ is a summer staple for many of us, but if you’re going to be cooking meat, it is important that you ensure it is done so thoroughly.

‘Eating raw or undercooked meat can cause toxoplasmosis. This is linked to the Toxoplasma parasite which is passed on to livestock before then being consumed by meat eaters. If meat isn’t properly cooked it means that these parasites aren’t killed and are still present in the food we’re eating.’

Common symptoms of toxoplasmosis include swollen lymph glands around the neck, muscle aches and pains as well as headache and fever. However, researchers have now discovered that it can also cause retinal scarring through ocular toxoplasmosis .

Mr Edmonds adds: ‘Retinal scarring is often caused by inflammation and can sometimes lead to a retinal detachment. Retinal scars aren’t easy to remove which means that any vision lost is unlikely to be restored so can remain obstructed or distorted.

‘If you have any concerns, you should always see your optometrist.’

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