After identifying and characterizing the ocular exposures reported to poison control centers (PCCs) in the United States from 2011 to 2015, researchers found that younger children are the most susceptible and require concerted intervention.1

This pooled, retrospective, cross-sectional study analyzed data from 477,274 calls to PCCs for ocular exposure. The researchers evaluated the major medical outcomes, reason for exposure, location of exposure and causative xenobiotic.1

 The team learned that an average of 95,454 calls per year are made to PCCs for ocular emergencies, with most exposures occurring unintentionally, at home and predominantly in children younger than age five. They note that the most serious adult exposures occur in the workplace due to alkali exposure. Those over 64 years old are facing an increasing incidence in exposure, the researchers add. They found that the most common treatment provided was irrigation and wash for the affected eye.1

 The takeaway message is “the need for comprehensive education,” said Richard W. Moriarty, MD, in a Practice Update commentary. He recommends making the telephone number of PCCs more readily available.2

 “PCCs can quickly provide comprehensive information regarding the magnitude of potential harm of a given exposure and appropriate treatment advice, frequently negating an ER visit,” Dr. Moriarty wrote.2

 He also suggests parents be aware that young children can accidentally be exposed to toxins and that manufacturers use less-attractive and more child-resistant product packaging. Caretakers should also understand that giving elderly patients the wrong medication is a major health concern.2

1. Heise CW, Agarwal S. Ocular exposures reported to poison control centers from 2011 to 2015. AM J Ophthalmol. March 6, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].

2. Ocular exposures reported to poison control centers from 2011 to 2015. PracticeUpdate. March 20, 2019.