Horrific Medication Error Blinds Cataract Patient

Heartless manufacturer blames the victim …

Don’t let this common mistake happen to you – two ways to prevent it 

(HEADLINE HEALTH) This nightmare scenario has been known for 30 years, but it keeps happening to innocent victims because no one does anything about it.

A glue manufacturer is blaming the victim after he mistook their product for identically packaged eyedrops. The victim had just had cataract surgery. IMAGE: Lars Andreas, CC

 As reported below by Mailonline, a man recovering from a cataract operation – the most commonly performed surgery in the world – accidentally glued his eye shut when he mistook false fingernail adhesive for eye drops, effectively rendering him blind in one eye.

The man was rushed to the hospital in terror and in agony.

Doctors literally pried his eye open with forceps.

Fortunately, the vision loss was only temporary, but the patient’s memory of this frightening event must surely be very painful – not to mention the bill he may have received from the emergency room. 

But here’s the thing – what happened to this gentleman was not some random, isolated event.


In fact, there’s a specific reason that glue-mistaken-for-eye-drops emergencies keep happening.

It’s a problem that eye doctors and glue makers have been aware of for decades. And it could be fixed by companies that make either eye drops or glue, but both sides refuse to budge.

There is, however, a surefire way that each household can solve this problem individually – use superglue containers only once and throw them away.

The patient got these actual bottles mixed up: Boots Clear Nail Glue (left) and Timolol eye drops (right). IMAGE: BMJ_Case_Reports

After use, place the container with the unused portion of glue in a zip lock bag and dispose of it properly.

The risk that at some future date a forgotten bottle of glue will be mistaken for eyedrops is simply too great to justify saving a couple dollars worth of glue.

Also, superglue should not be used or stored even temporarily in the same room where a person would normally use eyedrops, such as the bathroom or the bedroom.

One more point we can’t let go without comment – the glue companies’ laughable recommendation for avoiding this common mixup.

They say the people would not put glue in their eyes if only they’d read the warning label on the bottle.

Um, hello, these folks are recent eye surgery patients. They’re not likely to be able to read your tiny warning label on a tiny bottle!

The original story below has full details of the event; it’s well worth reading so you can take steps to make sure that this horror show is not repeated in your home.

Cataract patient, 64, accidentally glues his eye SHUT after mistaking nail adhesive for his eye drops

(Claudia Tanner, Mailonline) A man recovering from a cataract operation accidentally glued his eye shut when he mistook nail adhesive for eye drops.

The 64 year-old patient was left in agony after squeezing the popular glue – used to attach false nails – into his eye socket.

Ophthalmologist Dr Imran Yusuf said:

‘He reported having [put] a common brand of nail glue into his left eye after mistaking the container for his eye drops.

‘During the consultation he produced both bottles demonstrating the similarity in size, shape and opening mechanism of the bottles.’

Dr Yusuf said neither have a protective safety cap.

Doctors pried open the patient’s eyelids with forceps.

Thankfully, his cornea healed and his vision returned after treatment.

A common problem since superglue was sold is dropper bottles

The patient got Boots Clear Nail Glue (left) mixed up with Timolol eye drops (right)

Dr Yusuf said that people injuring themselves by inadvertently supergluing their eyes has been reported frequently since 1982 when the adhesive was repackaged into ‘ophthalmic style dropper bottles’.

And he said the popularity of acrylic and artificial nails led to a rise in household do-it-yourself kits using this new convenient form of superglue packaging.

He wrote: ‘Nearly 30 years after the first reported cases, no action has been taken by glue manufacturers.

‘Such incidents are expected to occur until superglue bottles are redesigned.’  

Experts also urged people to keep these items physically apart to avoid confusion.

Glue company: it’s the victims fault for not reading the label 

A glue company spokesperson said: ‘The health and wellbeing of our customers is of the utmost importance to us and we would like to remind customers to keep this nail product away from eyes, there is a caution sticker on the bottle as a warning. Read more: Mailonline.


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