Some eye drops contain only sterile saline solution, which is not
harmful if ingested. However, other eye drops can be hazardous if they
are consumed. Ingesting eye drops that contain tetrahydrozoline can
potentially be fatal, particularly to small children.
"The active ingredient in Visine eye drops is Tetrahydrozoline HCl
0.05%. Swallowing this substance can result in a number of nasty
Lowering body temperature to dangerous levels
Making breathing difficult, or even halting it entirely
Causing nausea and vomiting
Elevating and then dropping blood pressure
Causing seizures or tremors
Sending the ingester into a coma
Pfizer's cautions to users of Visine include, 'If swallowed, get
medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.' In view
of the above list, that advice should not be taken lightly."
Snopes Urban Legends Reference Pages
"A grocery chain has settled a lawsuit filed by a regular customer who
said he was served a wheatgrass smoothie spiked with eye medication as
Rudy Trabanino accused an employee of Whole Foods Market, an
Austin-based seller of natural foods, of using a bottle of Visine to
spike the smoothie.
Trabanino said he became violently ill and was hospitalized for
several days with acute pain and a variety of serious medical
William Brown, an attorney who represented Trabanino, said the
poisoning could have been fatal for his client, who still suffers from
headaches and other maladies."
Texas News: Lawsuit over spiked smoothie settled
"Visine eye drops with tetrahydrozoline is a commonly used medicine
that does not have a child-resistant cap and can be deadly to small
children if swallowed."
Cleveland Clinic: Household Chemicals
"The estimated fatal dose of tetrahydrozoline for children up to 2
years of age is 5 mg intranasally (Handbook of Poisoning, 12th
Edition, 1987)... Each one fluid ounce bottle of Visine Eye Drops
contains approximately 15 mg of tetrahydrozoline HCl."
Grand Rapids Community College: Material Safety Data Sheet
Ingredients found in prescription eye drops can also be dangerous if
ingested. Eyedrops containing cyclopentolate have been implicated in
several deaths in Mexico:
"Half a dozen Mexico City prostitutes have been arrested for using eye
drops containing a sleep-inducing drug to knock out and rob their
clients, leaving at least five men dead, it has been reported.
One district in the centre of the Mexican capital has recorded 17
cases this year of men being drugged with cyclopentolate - a muscle
relaxant used in eye examinations to dilate the pupil and blur vision
- and then robbed... Mixing eye drops - which are not meant to be
swallowed - with alcohol can create a fatal mixture for someone with
heart problems, medical experts say."
Sydney Morning Herald: Robbed blind with eye drops
My Google search strategy:
Google Web Search: eyedrops OR "eye drops" ingest OR ingested OR
consume OR consumed
Google Web Search: tetrahydrozoline poisoning
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