It is great children have learned the importance of washing hands or using hand sanitizer during the past year! The efforts to stay clean are definitely helping; we are seeing less sickness than ever amongst our patients. However, we are also seeing more eye injuries caused by hand sanitizer.
Usually, this is mild, causing burning or irritation. Sometimes the alcohol in the hand sanitizer can actually damage the cornea of the eye which can potentially lead to vision loss.
For this reason, it is very important to supervise your children's hand sanitizer usage to be sure there is no contact with their eyes. Children should not rub their eyes until their hands are dry and should be taught to not get the sanitizer in the eyes. Hand sanitizer should be kept high enough to avoid a splash into the eyes and also to avoid having unsupervised access to it.
If your child does get sanitizer in the eye, rinse the eye thoroughly for 10 minutes. If the eye is still burning or stinging, your child should be seen by your eye doctor immediately. If you do not have an eye doctor, call us for an appointment so we can facilitate getting your child to an eye doctor. Hand sanitizer injury to the eye is considered to be an eye emergency.