Eye exposure to hand sanitizer in kids likely increasing due to COVID-19
Unintentional eye exposure to alcohol-based hand sanitizers (ABHS) is likely increasing in children due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study in JAMA Ophthalmology.
In this retrospective case series, data from cases of ocular exposure to chemical agents in children younger than 18 years from April 1, 2020 to August 24, 2020 were reviewed for ABHS exposure.
According to the researchers, there were 7 times more pediatric cases of eye exposure to ABHS during the study period compared to the same time in 2019 (9.9% vs 1.3%). From May 2020 to August 2020, the incidence of cases taking place in public increased from 16.4% to 52.4%. Admissions to the hospital for ABHS exposure increased from 1 child in 2019 to 16 children in 2020, 8 presenting with a corneal and/or conjunctival ulcer, of which >50% of the corneal surface was involved for 6 of the children. Two of these children required amniotic membrane transplant.
Martin GC, Le Roux G, Guindolet D, et al. Pediatric eye injuries by hydroalcoholic gel in the context of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2021;doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2020.6346.