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Superglue mistaken for eye drops
  1. S P Desai,
  2. B C Teggihalli,
  3. R Bhola
  1. Department of Ophthalmology, Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Armthorpe Road, Doncaster DN2 5LT, UK;

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Cyanoacrylate, better known as superglue, is sold as a “do it yourself” (DIY) pack. The shape and colour of the superglue bottle in these packs bears a striking resemblance to the container of commonly used eye drops (fig 1). McLean reported accidental ocular injury from it in 14 patients, of which five were children.1 We have recently seen three more cases in a short interval. In separate incidents children aged 7, 11, and 15 presented with ocular injuries (corneal abrasion and eyelid closure) due to superglue. All of them recovered with conservative treatment. No long term effects were seen.

Figure 1

 Packs of Chloramphenicol Eye Drops and Instant Nail Glue.

These incidents have been reported with alarming regularity for the past two decades.2–,4 Have we done enough to prevent them? We highlight the need for regulating non-pharmaceutical packaging. The nail glue container used in one of our cases had no obvious warning on the front and the print was quite small. The colour is also similar to that of the chloramphenicol eye drops bottle (fig 1). There are no design regulations on plastic bottles.5 As a result non-pharmaceutical companies are free to label and produce their products as they see fit. We highlight the need for the introduction of such regulation; for example, child resistant packaging, barring overseas language on bottles, and changing the size, shape, and colour of bottles.



  • Competing interests: none declared