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October 05, 2010

After 22 Years FDA Continues to Drop the Ball on Eye Drop Packaging Mix Ups

22 Years ago I had a letter published in the Archives of Ophthalmology titled:  Corneal Abrasion From Accidental Instillation of Cyanoacrylate Into the Eye.  This letter described a 38-year-old woman was referred from a local emergency department to my office after accidentally putting instant nail glue into her left eye.  She had been taking gentamicin sulfate (antibiotics) drops to treat conjunctivitis, and had inadvertently mixed up the bottles, which looked similar to her.  I also stated that: There have been many accounts of accidental ocular instillation of cyanoacrylate adhesives. In 1982, a similarity in packaging of ophthalmic medications and the adhesive containers was noted to be a consumer safety problem. This case will illustrate that, five years later, this consumer safety problem still exists.

Well, this been 22 years since that letter, and the problem still exists today!  MyFox Phoenix did a story yesterday titled:   Woman Mistakes Superglue for Eye drops FDA to investigate medical mishap

She reached for eyedrops and instead used superglue -- and it happens a lot more often than you might think.

Irmgard Holm had cataract surgery last year. She mistakenly reached for what she thought was one of her half dozen eyedrop medications -- but the burning sensation that followed let her know something was seriously wrong.

It was superglue.

"The bottles are identical and I am not young anymore, but I am not senile," says Holm.

I guess the FDA is more concerned with the likes of Morris Waxler and his "LASIK-Bashing" than to concern itself with a true safety issue.  Its not too difficult to prohibit the bottling of substances toxic to the eye in similar containers! 

FDA, get with the program!!


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In my old gas perm lens days, one brnad of cleaner had a red tip to help remind you not to use that one in your eye. Manufacturers don't even have to wait for the FDA.

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