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Constance E West, Michael E Gray; Pediatric Corneal Injuries from Laundry Detergent Pods. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):5484.
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To describe extent, laterality, and severity of ocular injuries to pediatric patients resulting from exposure to laundry detergent pods.
A consecutive case series of pediatric eye injuries evaluated at a large children's hospital as a result of exposure to laundry detergent pods.
Ten consecutive children were treated for eye injuries after squeezing or biting a laundry detergent pod during a nine month period (November 2012 through July 2013). Average age was 35 months (range 18 to 58 months). Ocular irrigation was performed at home and/or in the emergency department. After irrigation, ocular surface pH was assessed and found to be neutral in all eyes. Mild periorbital edema or erythema was noted in three of ten children. Anterior segment examination revealed significant conjunctival injection in all cases, but no limbal ischemia or clinically significant conjunctival chemosis was found. Nine patients had a unilateral (7 OD, 2 OS) corneal epithelial defect (3 mm to near-total in diameter) and one patient had bilateral corneal epithelial defects (4 mm OD, 8-9 mm diameter OS). The affected eyes were treated with topical antibiotic ointment; a cycloplegic agent was prescribed if needed for discomfort. The epithelial defect resolved after an average of 4 days (range 2 to 5 days), and all defects resolved without known sequelae.
In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (MMWR October 19, 2012; 61:825) raised concern about pediatric injuries due to exposure to laundry detergent pods, noting that patients with laundry detergent pod injuries were significantly younger than patients exposed to traditional liquid or powdered laundry detergents, and that injuries were more common with detergent pods than with traditional detergents. Our case series suggests that the ocular surface appears to recover well after exposure to laundry detergent pods, but parents must be diligent about keeping detergent pods out of the reach of children, and ophthalmologists should be aware of this mechanism of ocular injury.
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