Woman Mistakes Superglue For Eyedrops; Not As Funny As It Sounds

It sounds like the sort of prank a bratty little brother would pull in a wacky Hollywood comedy from the ’80s, but it’s not. A woman in Arizona recently reached for what she thought was eyedrops, only to end up squirting superglue into her eye.

“The bottles are identical and I am not young anymore, but I am not senile,” the woman, who recently had cataract surgery, told the local Fox affiliate.

After an unsuccessful attempt at washing the glue off, she had to call in paramedics who were finally able to pry the eyelids open and wash out the adhesive.

“They had to cut off the glue substance and it was all hard and in the eye, and I couldn’t even see,” she said.

According to MyFoxPhoenix.com, there have been several reports over the last three decades of people mistaking superglue for eyedrops because of the shape and size of the bottle.

The unfortunate woman in Arizona will be interviewed by someone from the Food and Drug Administration.

Woman Mistakes Superglue for Eyedrops [MyFoxPhoenix.com]

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  1. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    The My Fox Phoenix article wasn’t exactly clear on how this happened in the first place. If her cataracts surgery made it hard for her to see, I wonder whose bright idea was to keep the superglue near the eye drops, or whose fault it was that the superglue wasn’t put away (you know, away from the eye drops).

    • brianary says:

      I was thinking the same thing. Why would these things be in the same room?

      Also, wouldn’t the smell be a cue?

      Awful.

      • SomeWhiteGuy says:

        My grandfather had the same surgery and is an engineer. I’m surprised this didn’t happen to him.

        Also, when is the last time you smelled your eye-drops before putting them in your eye?

        • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

          Gotta say if I can’t read the bottle for whatever reason, I’m definitely going to give it a whiff before squirting. That or asking the least funny person in the room to tell me which is which.

        • corrie06 says:

          You don’t have to intentionally smell it. When you open a bottle of superglue, you’ll smell it.

          That being said, this lady is old and maybe doesn’t have that great of smell anymore?

          • ellemdee says:

            I had no idea that Super Glue had a smell to it. As you can guess, I have a horrible sense of smell and always have. I can’t even smell garlic on food unless there’s a LOT of it. If someone’s wearing a lot of cologne, It will actually make my eyes burn to be near them before I can even smell the cologne. I can’t smell a gas leak or a fire either, so I can understand how someone might not be able to tell the differnence by smell alone.

        • brianary says:

          Isn’t super glue pretty pungent? I’m not blaming this woman, just trying not to imagine this happening to me.

          I haven’t used eye drops for quite some time, but I can guarantee you after reading this story I will be sniffing everything before it goes in my eye.

        • Difdi says:

          The smell literally fills the room. Unless your sense of smell is highly impaired, it’s impossible not to smell it.

        • Chaosium says:

          “Also, when is the last time you smelled your eye-drops before putting them in your eye?”

          All the time (contacts, etc.), that stuff can expire.

    • cupcake_ninja says:

      I thought the same thing. Why was superglue any where near the eye drops?

  2. PSUSkier says:

    What a sticky situation?

    Really though, at least the stuff was able to be washed out. In all honesty, I assumed this article was going to end much much worse.

    • PSUSkier says:

      Dammit, didn’t look at the article tag.

    • dangermike says:

      Superglues generally are cyanoacrylates. They cure into a hard plastic very rapidly in the presence of moisture. They also give off a little heat and the plastic chucks will likely be quite jagged. They can be rinsed away, but this requires certain types of solvents, most commonly acetone. Basically, the options are to try to physically remove the glue or pour fingernail polish remover all over her eye.

      It’s a truly unfortunate accident, and it really doesn’t seem like it would be a difficult error to make.

      • Merricat says:

        On the other hand, they are also commonly used to seal small wounds, so other than the physical issues involved, it would be as if there would be chemical issues (i.e. burns) involved.

        The worst case scenario, I would think, would be simply waiting for the cells that were bonded to slough off in a week or less, while keeping the eyes covered to avoid irritating them via movement.

  3. runswithscissors says:

    A very unfortunate incident. Hopefully someone can assist her with organizing her medications and putting any potentially harmful substances somewhere safe.

    Also, in before the usual commenters point out how it was her fault and declare they “have no sympathy”.

    • YOXIM says:

      It was her fault and I have no sympathy.

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        In after it was her fault and they “have no sympathy.” :D

    • runswithscissors says:

      We SO need to add “I have no sympathy” to the Consumerist Comments Bingo card. It’s the new hip comment to post these days!

      Ripped off newlyweds? I have no sympathy!
      Blinded Grandmas? I have no sympathy!
      Dead babies? I have no sympathy!

      Marvelous stuff. Really makes you feel good about society and your fellow man.

      • aaron8301 says:

        I feel great about society and my fellow man. So long as they both stay the hell away from me and leave me alone.

    • DoktorGoku says:

      They should have “in before [x]” on Consumerist Comments Bingo.

      It’s a not-so-passive-agressive way to criticize others for things without them necessarily having done anything yet.

  4. AI says:

    If I remember people’s comments from the article where someone thought hydrogen peroxide was multipurpose solution and put it directly in their eye: OMG!! This is totally crazy glue’s fault! It should be illegal for them to sell glue in bottles that remotely resemble eye drops! They should have a big flashing sign and have it play a recording saying “warning, this is crazy glue, do not use as eye drops!”.

    I think that about sums it up.

    Glad the lady didn’t get blinded by this. You’d think she’d have noticed the smell of the crazy glue though. It’s not like it’s hard to miss, especially when you have it 1 inch from your nose.

    • dangermike says:

      Just like eyesight and hearing, olfactory senses can fade with age.

    • Rachacha says:

      A bigger concern are the cleaning agents that come in 1/2 and full gallon containers that look just like juice containers and have a color and smell just like juice that a young child would drink.

      The problem in the eyedrop/superglue case becomes, who should change their package design because the design is optimized to deliver a precision amount of material in the appropriate location.

    • Gramin says:

      Hold on a second…

      I can understand banning the sale of candy cigarettes because that could be classified as deceptive and as an attempt to encourage smoking in children.

      However, NO super glue manufacturer is trying to trick consumers into using their product instead of saline solution. The two are completely unrelated. The OP has the lion’s share of responsibility here.

    • SabreDC says:

      Meanwhile, I tried to fix a broken soap dish with eyedrops. It didn’t hold. Damn the eyedrop companies for making their bottles the same size and shape as my superglue!

  5. CalicoGal says:

    The glue bottle has a red top for a reason,

    also, some women who use fake nails keep superglue at the ready to make repairs.
    So it isn’t out of the question for her to have them both on the coffee or bedside table.

    But still…. usually the glue cap is SO HARD to get off of the bottle! *clue* Again, the cap is red! *clue* and like someone else said, the glue has a distinctive odor *CLUE*

    I don’t get why this is news, I’d be embarrassed if I were her and try to keep it on the DL.

    • LightningUsagi says:

      Pause the film at 1:19. There are three eyedrop bottles with red caps as well. The only difference is that the glue has a yellow label, which I’m sure she wasn’t looking at if she already thought it was her eyedrops.

      • DancesWithBadgers says:

        Can’t really tell what the other red capped bottles are from the video but red is used for a reason. Contact solutions for example use a red cap for the cleansers which are not to be inserted into the eye so as not to confuse with say, saline.

      • Audiyoda28 says:

        Then she’s either mixed up the tops or her OMD supplied her with drops that were supplied directly to him/her rather than through a pharmacist.

        I’ve been in the optical industry for nearly 20 years – I’ve never seen any eye drops supplied to the consumer with a red top. I’ve seen plenty supplied directly to ODs/OMDs with red tops – they are labelled for For Professional Use Only. If those bottles with the red tops are eye drops then the FDA needs to also speak with her OMD about supplying drops inconsistent with consumer labeling.

        CalicoGirl is right – there’s a reason the top is red.

        • mbbbus says:

          Utterly incorrect. I am an ophthalmologist. “red top” simply means, roughly, “these dilate the pupil”.

          These are prescribed routinely by ophthalmologists, particularly post-operatively, for patients to use at home.

          This crazy glue problem is not unprecedented, but cyanoacrylate is relatively harmless- gives a nasty corneal abrasion when removed, but that is merely painful and won’t cause permanent harm.

      • guroth says:

        Yes the super glue bottle is the only red capped bottle with a yellow label, but none of the red capped bottles contain fluid meant to go in your eye, this is a universal sign for eye care products.

    • johnny_ryall says:

      red caps aren’t standard practice for super glue bottles. blue, white, black, green, yellow, transparent…you can find it all pretty easily.

      maybe their bottle cap is red for a reason, but it’s more likely a marketing/branding decision than a safety feature.

    • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

      Missing the part where the woman has EYE PROBLEMS. You know, the things you SEE WITH?

  6. Gruppa says:

    That almost sounds like something you’d see in a horror/suspense film. I’m surprised her eyesight wasn’t damaged. That’s pretty horrible.

    On the other hand, who in their right mind keeps super glue right next to their eyedrops. That’s like storing your ex-lax right next to the hersheys.

  7. dolemite says:

    Having “Several” people mistake something for something else doesn’t mean a new package is in order.

    We do realize there are BILLIONS of people on the earth right?

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      And only about 1 billion out of the 7 billion are wealthy enough to have access to both eye drops and super glue.

      That said, yeah, I don’t think a package redesign is in order either.

      • DancesWithBadgers says:

        Agreed. One senile woman claiming not to be senile and ignoring common sense warnings does not indicate a systematic problem.

  8. Papa Midnight says:

    I didn’t think the story was funny at all, before I even finished reading the headline title.

  9. Endgame says:

    Why would you even have those 2 things near each other, Does she keep Superglue in the medicine cabnit??

  10. duncanblackthorne says:

    There is a 300 pound gorilla in the room that nobody wants to talk about:
    WHY WOULD ANYONE KEEP A BOTTLE OF SUPERGLUE ANYWHERE NEAR WHERE THEY KEEP THEIR EYEDROPS!!?!

    • Portlandia says:

      I was going to ask the same question, but opted not to…glad someone did!

    • dg says:

      I agree 100%… WTF is wrong with people? Don’t most people keep the eyedrops in the medicine chest, or in the bathroom? And keep the superglue in the junk drawer, basement, or on a junk room shelf?

      This kind of darwinism in action is why hydrogen peroxide bottles have RED tips… To distinguish from the white tipped saline bottle…

      Glad she didn’t go blind – it could have been MUCH worse. Still, after she put it in the first eye, didn’t it burn like hell? Why put it in the 2nd eye after that?!

    • merkin says:

      Yeah, weird how you’re the first person to mention that.

    • DancesWithBadgers says:

      Oook. Oook ook ook oook oook.

    • tbax929 says:

      Wordy McWord to this. I am practically blind without my contacts. Do you know what’s not in my medicine cabinet where my eyedrops are? My super glue. What a maroon.

  11. Fight Back Against David Horowitz! says:

    What did my mother always tell me?

    Don’t put salt in your eyes…don’t put salt in your eyes…PUT SALT IN YOUR EYES!!!

    AAAARGH!

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  12. George4478 says:

    She probably keeps ammonia in the fridge next to the Diet Coke too.

  13. Blueskylaw says:

    “The bottles are identical and I am not young anymore, but I am not senile,”

    Since when did the superglue and eyedrop manufacturer start buying/using the same “identical” bottles from the same manufacturer?

    • msbask says:

      Not only that, but if the pictures above are the pictures of the *actual* bottles, they are anything but identical.

  14. brianisthegreatest says:

    This sounds terrible, and I feel very sorry for that person. Must have been extremely painful and uncomfortable. I use eye drops pretty often, and I would never, ever mistake it for super glue.

  15. u1itn0w2day says:

    Setting the mix up aside how do you get super glue out of the eye in a pinch. Skin is one thing but you can’t be as creative around the eye.

    Would letting it dry be the best solution and hope it flakes out or can flick out one piece?

  16. divedeep says:

    It’s funny because it happened to someone else.

  17. msbask says:

    Sort of off-topic: When my daughter was 2, she bit one of those metalish tubes of superglue, which immediately glued her lips together and her fingers to her face. Her father had to pry her lips apart so she could breathe and get her fingers off her face.

    Poison control suggested we take her to the emergency room, so we did. Four hours later, they decided that the superglue wouldn’t kill her (even though it was all over her teeth, tongue and skin) and said there wasn’t really anything they could do to “fix” it. They told us to alternate applying mineral oil and/or vaseline to any skin that had superglue on it, and eventually it would just have to wear off.

    It took a month, and the first few days were the worst. The glue contracts and was literally pulling her skin apart. Not to mention, teaching a 2-year old to spit whenever pieces of superglue would come off her teeth into her mouth.

    We haven’t had superglue in the house since then (even though the 2-year old is now a 22-year old).

  18. AngryK9 says:

    Personally, I usually keep my super glue on the night stand next to the lube…

  19. Hoss says:

    If this happened to me, I’d rather the paramedics rushed me to a doctor. the glue was dried by the time they got to the home . I suppose they could have been in contact with a hospital that told them to pry the eyelid open, but if not, that seems beyond what they should be doing (unless of course there was danger of the eye losing oxygen which doesn’t seem to be the case)

  20. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    This is worse than that time Lois put her feminine hygiene cream in the refrigerator next to the mustard. That was the worst hot dog I ever ate!

  21. kataisa says:

    I’m sure she’s not the only person to make such a mistake. It would behoove the Super Glue manufacturers to come up with a new bottle design to differentiate it from eye drop bottles before they are sued.

    • Hoss says:

      The bottles in the picture don’t look similar. Unless you’ve had one too many drinks

    • theholymac says:

      They’re both bottles designed to hold similar volumes of fluid, and dispense drops of said fluid. Physically, they’re going to be pretty similar, no matter what you do.

  22. Hoss says:

    Notice what Superglue says:

    # Eyelid
    In the event that eyelids are stuck together or bonded to the eyeball, wash thoroughly with warm water and apply a gauze patch. The eye will open without further action within 1-4 days. To our knowledge there has never been a documented case of adhesive in the eye causing permanent damage. Do not try to force eyes open.
    # Eyeball
    The adhesive will attach itself to the eye protein and will disassociate from it over time, usually within several hours. Periods of weeping and double vision may be experienced until clearance is achieved. Use of a warmed 3% sodium bicarbonate solution to wash eyes repeatedly may assist in aiding more rapid removal of the adhesive.

  23. EdipisReks says:

    I keep superglue in my medicine cabinet because it’s great for sealing minor wounds, much better than non- cyanoacrylate liquid bandage or band-aids (superglue is used medically, and there are more expensive medical grade superglues, though I just use the common hardware store variety). I don’t wear contacts or use eye drops, but I wouldn’t expect it to be an issue if I did.

    • dg says:

      You my friend are an idiot. There’s a reason that regular superglue is different from medical-grade superglue – it’s because cyanoacrylate causes cancer. True story: My dad knows an oncologist. Guy comes in with a very RARE form of leukemia. Typically only seen in patients who worked in chemical plants, living over toxic dumps, or other screwed up areas. This guy lives in a nice house, white collar job, suburbs.

      They come to find out that he’d had a problem with a crown on his molar popping off, so he kept reattaching it with … wait for it… REGULAR SUPERGLUE.

      Do not EVER use regular superglue in the body, or on a wound. Go pay for the medical grade non-cyanoacrylate stuff…

  24. anime_runs_my_life says:

    ” “The bottles are identical and I am not young anymore, but I am not senile,” the woman, who recently had cataract surgery, told the local Fox affiliate.”

    Um..no.They’re not identical. I use allergy eye drops and keep a bottle of superglue in my desk at work. I just looked at them and they are so not identical. The cap for super glue is red and has four very prominent rigdes around it. They allergy eyedrops have a white cap on it. There is no way one can mistake the bottles unless they’re stupid or senile. I really think she’s losing it.

    • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

      YOUR bottle of superglue and YOUR bottle of eyedrops are not identical.

      Cool story bro!

  25. TerpBE says:

    I tend to keep my contact rewetting drops in my pocket, and if my eyes are dry while I’m watching TV, I might put them on the coffee table within easy reach. I’ve also used superglue while fixing things on that same coffee table, so I don’t think it’s completely ridiculous to think that eye drops and superglue could happen to end up in the same place.

  26. Taed says:

    I have accidentally superglued my fingers together on two occassions. The first was in our lab at work, but we had superglue remover, which solved that very quickly. The second was at home, and fingernail polish remover did a pretty good job, but not as good as the stuff we had in our lab.

    In both cases, I was being quite careful (but clearly not careful enough to at least wear gloves), but working with small parts, so somehow some glue ended up where it shouldn’t have been.

  27. rewind says:

    As far eye drops, when I open a bottle I always put a few drops on the back of my hand to make sure. With as many mix ups as can happen like this I never want to take the chance.

  28. ubermex says:

    That superglue in the obvious eyedrop bottle is the cheapest one wal-mart sells. I have bottles of it all over the house, so it wouldn’t be a hard mistake to make.

  29. misslisa says:

    Okay, I’ll admit it: I almost did this after having eye surgery! I had left a bottle of fingernail glue on the nightstand, and the medicated eye drops were in a similarly sized/shaped bottle – both with pink lids! Why were they right next to each other and how’d I get them mixed up? Cause I was so doped up from the surgery. (This was in 1995, so things may be different today, but whatever meds they gave me knocked me on my ass). How’d I catch my error? The lid to the fingernail glue had become sealed shut with residue, thank God.

  30. FeelinFroggy says:

    From Arizona you say? Now why doesn’t that surprise me…

  31. Sparty999 says:

    I keep my superglue in the garage… and my eyedrops in my car…

  32. donovanr says:

    This is almost like the time I mistook a grenade for a vitamin pill.

    As for identical I think her definition of identical is a bit fuzzy. Identical as in they both contained liquids and had screwtops. It sounds to me like she is fishing for a lawsuit.

  33. jeff_the_snake says:

    i think it’s time to bring back mr. yuck stickers.

  34. HogwartsProfessor says:

    This made me think of Christopher Wilder, a serial killer who used superglue on one of his victims this way.

    Even though the lady will be okay, I’m sure that had to be scary. There’s a huge “OMG!” factor that comes with putting something like that into your eye!

  35. The Porkchop Express says:

    This had to be new superglue also since any superglue I have used once is always hard as hell to get out the next time. I would imagine she had to squeeze the hell out of the thing.

  36. common_sense84 says:

    Well gee, why would you keep super glue near the eye drops.

    You cannot complain about the similar nature of the bottle.

    I’ve also never seen a super glue bottle that had a tip similar to eye drops.

  37. Zydia says:

    I can empathize with her, as I have done stupid things while my mind is focused elsewhere; however, I have no sympathy in regards to making the FDA investigate and get on the glue-maker’s case about it.

  38. rookie says:

    I can remember vividly in the mid 1980′s (holy crap!), a safety instructor holding up various bottles of household “good stuff” and similar bottles of “Dr. Yuck”, just to illustrate how dangerous not paying close attention to one’s surroundings can be.

    The coup de grace was a bottle of Visine and a bottle of SuperGlue…
    Twenty five years ago…

    *shrug*
    Be cautious, it’s a dangerous world…

  39. Why is this on Consumerist? says:

    Google it. This type of thing happens every day.

  40. UlaniMosquito says:

    Meh, she was obviously blind already anyway.

  41. Elcheecho says:

    i see what she did there…

  42. Speak says:

    My ex-girlfriend did this once with nail glue, and she was only around 30. She only did it in one eye and drove to the hospital where they were able to remove it no problem. She felt like an idiot but was told she wasn’t the first person that month to do it.

  43. 99 1/2 Days says:

    I’ve picked up a bottle of superglue thinking it was eyedrops before. Noticed the bottle was different before I opened it though.

  44. gman863 says:

    Could have been much worse.

    Next week she’ll reach for her yeast infection cream and accidentally apply a huge helping of 5-minute expxy.

  45. Jimmy37 says:

    I heard this on the radio. The woman whined about how horrible it was that this mistake could be made. She admitted that she couldn’t see well without her glasses. No mention about how irresponsible she was for leaving something this dangerous on her night table where she could make a mistake.

  46. DoktorH says:

    I use superglue as a liquid band-aid on small cuts, so it does wind up next to my eye-drops a lot. I’ve never grabbed one when i was after the other, though.