April 2014
Volume 55, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   April 2014
Detergent capsule ocular injuries; An emerging risk in the United States.
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Robert Glazier
    Ophthalmology, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO
  • Emily McCourt
    Ophthalmology, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO
  • Rebecca Mets-Halgrimson
    Ophthalmology, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
  • Robert Enzenauer
    Ophthalmology, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO
  • Rebecca Braverman
    Ophthalmology, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships Robert Glazier, None; Emily McCourt, None; Rebecca Mets-Halgrimson, None; Robert Enzenauer, None; Rebecca Braverman, None
  • Footnotes
    Support None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2014, Vol.55, 5485. doi:
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      Robert Glazier, Emily McCourt, Rebecca Mets-Halgrimson, Robert Enzenauer, Rebecca Braverman; Detergent capsule ocular injuries; An emerging risk in the United States.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):5485.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: To review five recent cases of detergent capsule injuries at tertiary pediatric hospital.

Methods: Retrospective review of cases of corneal detergent capsule injuries from 2012-2013. Review of Material Data Safety Sheets (MSDS) of detergent capsule products available in the United States.

Results: From July 2012 to August of 2013, six eyes of five patients with ocular surface injuries due to detergent capsules were reported. Of these cases, tear films of two eyes had an elevated pH at the time of injury. One case consisted of bilateral corneal injuries with associated unilateral conjunctival epithelial injury. The remaining four cases consisted of unilateral corneal epithelial injury; of these, a single case demonstrated significant chemical conjunctivitis and progression of corneal epithelial loss requiring amniotic membrane application. Topical antibiotic or combination steroid/antibiotic ointment was successfully used to manage the nonsurgical cases after initial saline irrigation and pH normalization. Median time to re-epithelialization was 8 days (range 2-16 days). Review of MSDS for detergent capsules in the US reveals a majority of products do not report a significant alkaline pH of packaged detergent.

Conclusions: Highly concentrated detergent capsules pose a particular risk of ocular surface injury to pediatric patients. Delayed healing of ocular surface epithelium can be observed in these injuries. With the recent advent of super-concentrated detergent capsules available in the US market place, responsible labeling and packaging should be utilized to prevent injuries. The mechanism of injury in these patients seems to be more complex than simple alkaline injury as has been presumed. Amniotic membrane application may be a useful intervention in severe cases.

Keywords: 482 cornea: epithelium • 474 conjunctiva • 621 ocular irritants  

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