I remember quite a few years ago, there was one of those Internet stories floating around about a mother who claimed to have accidentally gotten waterproof sunscreen in her kid’s eyes and that the child was blinded for 2 days because of it.
The story read that she was putting sunscreen on her 2 year-old son and he rubbed his eyes, causing some sunscreen to get in there. She said he started screaming in pain so she tried to flush it out with water but it would not come out because it was waterproof. She claims to have called the poison control center who told her to go to the closest Emergency Room. She then claims that they took her back right away and started flushing his eyes out with “special eye drops” and that although her son did not completely loose his vision she does state he was blind for the 2 days following this traumatic event.
I know that my kids were fairly young at the time, and living at the Jersey Shore, spent many weekends on the beach and went through tons of sunscreen every summer. I remember panicking and thinking what an awful mother I would be if I actually did this to one of my kids.
I am here to reassure all of you moms out there, that there is no way any reputable sunscreen on the market could actually cause anyone to go blind. They do contain ingredients that could significantly irritate the eye, but do not contain anything that could possibly cause permanent blindness to a person.
Although many sunscreens are waterproof, it does not mean they can’t be rinsed from the eye if it accidentally gets in there. I have made it a habit of carrying a bottle of artificial tear drops in my beach bag. These can be found in the optical section of any Drug Store and even Target and WalMart. In case our eyes get irritated, from sunscreen or sweat mixed with sunscreen, I just put in a few drops of these lubricating artificial tears. This is also helpful for taking the chlorine sting out if you are at a pool and for sand accidentally getting in your eyes at the beach.
Of course it is always best to try to NOT get anything in your eyes, but sometimes accidents do happen. So why not be prepared? *
Mary Sweetman, C.O.A.
Certified Ophthalmic Assistant