Ojo

Ojo means "strong glance" or "evil eye". Young children are most susceptible but all ages may suffer from ojo.

The etiology of ojo is when a person with a "powerful" gaze glances or looks admiringly at someone without touching them. The symptoms include sudden onset of high fever, vomiting, headache, coryza, fainting, and sometimes convulsions. The diagnosis of "Ojo" is made by consideration of the patient's symptoms and an examination of a fresh egg broken after being passed over the patient's body. A positive diagnosis is made when the egg appears cooked, or the yolk appears to have the image of an eye. The most effective remedy is to have the perpetrator touch the patient as soon as possible. When that is not an option, an alternative treatment is as follows:

  1. a fresh egg is passed over the patients' body;
  2. it is broken into a bowl of water and covered by a cross of palm or straw; and
  3. put under the head of the patient's bed.
  4. The patient is then put to bed for the night and in the morning the egg is examined; if it is curdled then that indicates that the Ojo is cured and the egg is then disposed of.
For prevention, children or susceptible individuals wear buck-eyes as amulets or necklaces, or pink coral bracelets. In this Hispanic folk tradition if a child is complimented, the care giver should make every effort to touch him or her. (This contrasts sharply with an Asian belief that a child should never be touched on the top of his head).