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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 164-166

COVID casualty: Bilateral blindness due to ingestion of spurious sanitizer

1 Pediatric Ophthalmology, Strabismus, Cataract Services, BB Eye Foundation, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
2 Ophthalmic Plastic and Ocular Oncology Services, Advanced Eye Hospital and Institute, A Unit of Dr. Agarwal's Eye Hospitals, Navi Mumbai; Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery and Ocular Oncology Services, Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Lav Kochgaway
B B Eye Foundation VIP, Shree Tower 2, VIP Road, Kolkata-700059, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ojo.OJO_277_2020

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Intentional ingestion of alcohol-based handrub (ABHR) or sanitizer solution is uncommon. The coronavirus disease-19 pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 has led to lockdowns being put in place in many countries across the globe and resulted in a surge in ABHR usage to maintain hand hygiene. In this communication, we report the case of a 56-year-old male, a chronic alcoholic who presented during the lockdown period, with acute bilateral loss of vision following ingestion of ABHR. The handrub was found to be a nonstandardized sanitizer with no labels mentioning its constituents. Typically, the ingestion of ABHR solutions results in isopropanol or ethanol poisoning, both of which have low toxicity. Based on the clinical history and findings in our patient, a diagnosis of optic neuropathy due to accidental ingestion of sanitizer containing methyl alcohol as an unlisted ingredient was made. Our report underscores the need for strict guidelines, toxicovigilance, and surveillance systems to be in place to prevent such adulterated ABHRs from being commercially available.

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