Woman Mistakes Superglue for Eye Drops

October 7th, 2010 by Staff

PHOENIX – 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.

She tried washing the adhesive out, but the quick-drying glue did its job and sealed her eye shut. Paramedics and hospital staff had to get it open and wash out her eye before major damage was done.

“They had to cut off the glue substance and it was all hard and in the eye, and I couldn’t even see.”

You might think Holm’s mix-up is a rare medical mishap, but that’s not so. We found many cases of “superglue ocular injuries,” dating back all the way to 1982.

The Food and Drug Administration will interview Holm later this week, and she hopes her case and the others will put pressure on glue makers to change their bottles’ shape and size.

A number of medical journals and case students have brought the medicine-glue bottle mix-up to the forefront over the last several years.

One Response

  1. Eric Bogart

    Who keeps super glue in medicine cabinet anyway? That’s what sounds strange to me.

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