STUDY: Toddlers at most risk for chemical burns to eyes

one thing you can do to save their eyes
Posted at 6:45 PM, Sep 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-14 18:45:24-04

Everly Kubeck is celebrating her first birthday. Like many first year olds, she loves getting splashed in the face at splash pond in the park, she also just loves to explore.

"They are wanting to check everything out," said her mother Talia Duany. "They are so inquisitive at this age."

The curiosity of a one and two years old's is also what could get them hurt.

"It is scary,"  said Duany.

Duany was surprised by a new study finding toddlers are twice as likely to burn their eyes with chemicals found in household supplies.

"I'm surprised at the extent of it. I though maybe this was an isolated incident. But to know that it is not is surprising and scary," said Duany.

Researchers from JAMA Ophthalmology spent four years compiling data. They analyzed numbers from 900 emergency rooms nationwide.  

Eye surgeon Dr. Hunter Newsom, founder and leader of Newsom Eye, said the study is long overdue. He thinks injury numbers are even higher. He's practiced for 15 years and has performed more than 40,000 surgeries.  

"This is something that is 100% preventable Education and knowledge of this is huge," said Dr. Newsom.
"We have patients call us and come directly to us. So we are treating them and that's not even mentioned in the study."

Dr. Newsome said while getting your child to a doctor is crucial, it's not the immediate priority.

"The first thing that you do it's take your child put them underneath the sink and flush the eye out for 20 minutes," said Dr. Newsom.

And he means 20 minutes with water. Dr. Newsom said  even one drop of a chemical can cause permanent damage.

The chemical can soak into the layers below a cornea.

"It doesn't take a lot and it can happen very quickly," said Dr. Newsom.

Any cleaner can be harmful. But experts said the top three to look out for:  Those detergent tabs, not only do they look like candy

"They are tearing it because it looks fun and then the detergent comes into their eye," said Dr. Newsom.

Colorful spray cleaners. The brighter bottles entice toddlers.

"And, It's fun to spray a bottle," said Dr. Newsom.

And hand sanitizers, the chemical can be so powerful and toddlers are constantly touching their eyes.

"Depending on the chemical it can melt that tissue," said Dr. Newsom.

Duany said this is one study she'll pay special attention to. From knowing what to do and what to look for

"Yes this is very good information!   Absolutely when I get home I will go through and double and triple check everything. I plan to get down on her eye level to see what she sees," said Duany.