Last Friday, I spent the late afternoon washing Orlando’s eye out with water. It was quite traumatic for both of us — I had to hold him down and hold his eye open AND pour water on his eye, which ended up going all over his face.
So I thought I would share what I learned, should your child spray perfume (it is the ethyl alcohol that is the irritant) in her or his eye.
Please note…. I am not a doctor or health care provider. Please seek medical advice from your physician.
Here is what I did
- I kept my child from rubbing his eye.
- I (tried to) rinse the eye for *five minutes* with warm (body-temp) water, so the water flowed from the bridge of the nose to the outer eye.
The poison control guy told me that the ethyl alcohol in perfume is an irritant that needs to be rinsed out. The alcohol causes the eye to become red, but the main concern is that it would cause a “hazing” affect on the cornea and/or a corneal scratch.
If, after the rinsing, and resting for an hour or so, my child complained of a scratchy feeling in his eye or of affected vision, the poison control person told me to take him to the doctor or hospital for evaluation. If he did have a corneal scratch, it could be healed with the proper care.
So, actual severe or reversible damage seemed unlikely, but the poison control guy was insistent that my son’s eye be washed (I even called back to say it wasn’t going well and I wasn’t getting much water in his eye). I swear, those people don’t have kids!
Here is what I learned for next time
First – have the Poison Control Number handy, and give them a donation if you can!
I called them right away and they told me what to do.
Second – have some sort of thing that makes it easy to get the water *in the eye* rather than all over your child’s face. They make “eye-cups” but I am not sure how this would work if your child wouldn’t willingly open his or her eye. The other idea I had is one of those measuring cups with a spout (which we don’t currently own). I also thought of using a funnel, but you would definitely need two people.
Another option is an eye-wash bottle which you can buy online or maybe at the pharmacy.
Third — have someone you can call to help you who can come RIGHT AWAY. Rom wasn’t home yet and I didn’t know when he would arrive (though I knew he was likely on his way). I ended up calling a neighbor to help me, since Orlando was in an utter panic and I was freaking that he would get permanent eye damage, and Mica was starting to cry (after lying on the bathroom floor and getting wet from the water I was pouring on Orlando…). Our neighbor Iona came over and held Mica, and changed his clothes (and tried to bribe Orlando with oranges if he “let” me clean his eye). I could have used another person, since the water-pouring itself seemed like a two-person job. I needed to have a lot of water nearby, or a person to hand me water container after water container, or something, since the hardest part was getting Orlando to lie down. Once I started pouring the water, he was better, but I only had a two-cup thing and only about 1/8 of the water ended up in his eye and then it would be gone and he would be up running away saying “I DON’T WANT TO DO IT AGAIN! I DON’T WANT TO DO IT AGAIN!!”
Fourth — maybe avoid the whole thing by not having perfume? LOL! I don’t even wear perfume and haven’t for years, but I have a really old thing of honeysuckle fragrance that Orlando got out of the cabinet in the bathroom. Orlando has never gotten into the cabinets before, but has lately been wanting to climb up onto the changing pad we have for Mica on the bathroom counter. Voila! He discovered that there were things behind those mirrors.
Orlando and I did a lot of talking and connecting afterward, and I also “sleep-talked” to him after he fell asleep, apologizing for taking away his autonomy, telling him that I love him and want him to be healthy and whole, reminding him that water is healing and he can learn not to fear it (this is a kid who won’t get his head wet in the bathtub and here I am holding him down and pouring water on his face)….
Anyway, his eye seems fine. We did some reading, finding certain things on the page, etc. to make sure he could see normally, and watched for the next 24 hours to make sure his eye wasn’t irritating him.