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Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
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Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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Yesterday I was attempting to use hand sanitizer, but the

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Yesterday I was attempting to use hand sanitizer, but the remnants of gel in the nozzle had dried and formed a plug. When I pushed down the plug and a large amount of gel shot into my eye. I rinsed my eye with water over and over for about a half an hour. Some of the redness went away. . . There was a lot of pus forming in the eye afterwards. This morning I woke to dried pus. The eye is still pretty red and the lid is somewhat swollen. It feels like I was punched in the face. I asked my pharmacist to recommend an over the contact solution to alleviate the dryness and redness. She recommended that I see a physician. My doctor has not answered my call. How urgent is it that I see a doctor? Should I go to the emergency room? Can it wait until tomorrow evening? What are the possible repercussions of not seeing a doctor?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 6 years ago.

Hello and thanks for your question.

Most hand sanitizers are alcohol-based and therefore concentrated alcohol was likely a large component of what hit your eye. Alcohol on the cornea usually causes corneal abrasions (scratches); this could explain your symptoms which are consistent with a scratch or an infected scratch (ulcer).

Until you can see the ophthalmologist, I would suggest using preservative-free artificial tears (don't use the kind that says "get-the-red-out" or "redness-reliever"), every hour while you're awake. But I do recommend that you see the ophthalmologist as soon as you can because the chances of infection are considerably greater because of contact lens use.

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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.

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