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Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3343
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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Is antibacterial hand soap really that hazardous to the eyes?

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Is antibacterial hand soap really that hazardous to the eyes? I read some comment by an expert about how it could lead to chemical or bacterial conjunctivitis and then to blindness. Also, what if it's on the facial skin and can you wash your face with antibacterial hand soap?

Doctor DanB : Hello and thanks for your question. For the most part, "antibacterial" hand soaps are no different than any other hand soap.
Doctor DanB : If gotten in the eye, they usually can cause some generalized irritation, a conjunctivitis, and occasionally a corneal abrasion, but I do not see a risk of blindness from an accidental exposure to the eyes of antibacterial hand soap. Does that make sense?





I suppose conjunctivitis (of any kind) typically does not cause corneal damage or blindness



Doctor DanB : No usually it does not.
Doctor DanB : Do you have any other questions about this?
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My opinion is solely informative and does not constitute a formal medical opinion or recommendation. For a formal medical opinion and/or recommendation you must see an eye doctor. Thanks for your inquiry! 
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

What if someone is, due to circumstances, unable to rinse the antibacterial hand soap from his eyes for 24 hours or a day?

Unless it was an overwhelming amount of soap, I still do not feel like this would be likely to cause such a severe conjunctivitis as to produce blindness. I presume you're referring to a relatively small amount, such as could be tolerated for 24 hours.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, it was antibacterial hand soap that was used for washing one's face, and it was a small amount so as to be tolerated for 24 hours, albeit with some discomfort or irritation.

While I might expect a garden-variety, or run-of-the-mill irritation or conjuncitivitis for a few days, at most, I wouldn't expect this to cause anything more serious than that.
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