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August 1988

Sodium Hydroxide Masquerading as a Contact Lens Solution

Author Affiliations

Columbus, Ohio

Arch Ophthalmol. 1988;106(8):1037. doi:10.1001/archopht.1988.01060140189017

To the Editor.  —The accidental instillation of hazardous solutions is a horror story commonly encountered by ophthalmologists. I recently encountered a case in which, because of a similarity of bottle shapes, a contact lens wearer accidentally instilled a strong alkali solution directly into his eye.

Report of a Case.  —After removing his hydrophilic contact lenses, a 23-year-old male college student mistakenly instilled 8% sodium hydroxide solution into his right eye, thinking that he was using rewetting/comfort drops. The patient immediately experienced pain and photophobia and rinsed his eye with tap water for approximately five minutes before being transported to the emergency department, where the eye was irrigated for another 30 minutes with normal saline solution. Visual acuity was 20/40 OD with correction. A large epithelial defect involved the entire inferior half of the cornea. The conjunctiva was moderately hyperemic and chemotic; however, there was no blanching. The eye was treated

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