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Mark P Breazzano, Russell Russell Day, Uyen L Tran; Prospective analysis of pediatric corneal chemical burns: the harm of laundry detergent pods. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):2316.
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While corneal chemical burns are notorious for inflicting blindness, the relative frequency of causative agents in the pediatric population is currently unknown. Since laundry detergent pods have come to market in the past decade, cases of aerodigestive and ocular burns from inadvertent consumption in children have been reported, but demographic and comparative incidence data are lacking. We hypothesize that laundry detergent pods are associated with the majority of pediatric chemical corneal burns presenting to a tertiary care center, and are more likely in preschool-aged children.
All emergent pediatric ophthalmology consultations (n=12) specific for chemical corneal burns at Vanderbilt University Medical Center were included as part of a prospective quality improvement investigation over a 14-month period. Age and causative agent were recorded and analyzed.
All pediatric chemical burn patients were less than or equal to 5 years of age. Most chemical corneal burn consultations (n=8) were specific to ocular exposure of laundry detergent pod contents, while the remainder were associated with conventional cleaning agents or pesticides (n=4). There was a significant association between laundry detergent pod as causative agent and a patient age of 2-5 years, compared to younger than 2 years and any other agent (p=0.018, Fisher’s exact test).
Currently, laundry detergent pods may be one of the most frequent causes of chemical corneal burns in children. Additionally, the preschool-aged may be at uniquely higher risk of sustaining these injuries. Increased public awareness, product safety improvements, and/or regulation may be necessary to decrease the ocular hazards associated with laundry detergent pods.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.
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