The greatest incidence of ocular exposure reported to poison control centers over a 5-year period was seen in children aged 5 years and younger, according to a cross-sectional study.
“Children under 5 are most susceptible and may have permanent disability owing to laundry detergent exposure,” the authors wrote. “The hazard of eye exposure to laundry detergents may not be fully appreciated by parents, leading to easier access by young children.”
Researchers examined 477,274 ocular exposure-related calls made to the National Poison Data System from Jan. 1, 2011, to Dec. 31, 2015. Causative xenobiotics, major medical outcomes, and reasons for and locations of exposure were analyzed. Only eye and skin exposures were included. Calls were classified as minor, moderate or major depending on severity of signs or symptoms.
Incidence rates were highest in children younger than 5 years, accounting for 24% of total reported cases.
Of 709 cases classified as major outcomes, defined as those that exhibited life-threatening symptoms or resulted in significant residual disfigurement or disability, 25 (0.02%) were reported in children younger than 10 years. Twenty of those cases were the result of exposure to laundry detergents, and five resulted from contact with bleach.
In children aged 18 years and younger, the most common site where exposure occurred was the subject’s own residence in 83% of cases, followed by school in 7%.
“Properly keeping dangerous substances up and out of reach or locked up may significantly reduce the incidence of these exposures,” the researchers wrote. “In addition, education of first responders and emergency personnel by ophthalmologists may impact the morbidity in those exposed.”– by Eamon Dreisbach
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.