Monday, March 21, 2011

That time I gave my eyes an accidental overdose

I'm rather fond of my eyeballs. Sure, they require super strong lenses to see past the end of my nose. And they did once got a serious tissue-destroying infection that caused me severe light sensitivity and pirate looking eye patches. Oh, and allergies once caused the white part to swell like a blister. But I can't complain about what my eyes have done to me, as I once almost killed them.

What? I never told you how I almost accidentally murdered my own two eyeballs? Well, I can fix that right now.

It's all the fault of the TSA. Or is it the terrorists? Whomever you choose to blame for the "only 3 ounce liquids on an airplane" rule. We were travelling to Texas for my brothers wedding. (Maybe it is his fault for getting married and making me travel by plane?) Wanting to see more than the end of my nose, I brought my travel-sized contact solution and case. At the time we lived in North Carolina and by the time we traveled to the airport 2.5 hours away and then flew to El Paso with all six kids, we were a little tired. I dug through the luggage, took out my now-glued-to-my-eyes contacts, washed my face, and went to bed.

Something I've done a thousand times, right? Not the travel to El Paso part. The take out my contacts after a long day part. In the morning I completed the ritual by reinstalling my contacts. There was the not-unusual burning the first blink or two, and then... and then ...

The burning seemed to intensify? Ouch! It hurt so badly! When I ran back to the bathroom to take out the trecherous contacts I realized what I had done.

You see, ever since the allergic eyeball swelling incident, I have been very good at using allergy eye drops. Nothing like Frankenstein eyes to learn that lesson. But, the normal small bottle of eye drops was almost the exact size and shape as the contact solution bottle. In my exhaustion the night before, I had grabbed the wrong bottle. I had soaked my sight-giving, water absorbent pieces of plastic in allergy eye drops all night. And then worn them on my equally absorbent eyeballs for 5 minutes. (What can I say, I'm a little slow to respond. I kept thinking the burn would just go away. If I'd realized what was causing it earlier, I would have acted sooner.)

I had just given my eyeballs a major overdose, and they were MAD at me.

You might be asking what three months worth of eye drops absorbed in 5 minutes feels like? Well, my pupils completely overtook my irises. If I didn't know better, I would think it went past my irises. My eyes went from hazel to pure black for over a day. Light became my enemy.

The next day or so, I was the idiot rocking sunglasses indoors. Over my normal glasses (which were held together with tape and wire). It was a beautiful way to meet everyone coming in for the wedding. Luckily, by the time the actual wedding came, I was able to put contacts back in, but I still couldn't handle bright light. Good thing we weren't in the middle of the desert. Oh yeah, we were. I could at least pull off my sunglasses for short amounts of time, long enough to not look dorky in the wedding photos. More dorky than normal that is. It's been a few years for my overworked mind to forget, but I think I did okay in the temple without the sunglasses, too. That would be something I'd remember, right?

On the plus side, I had no itching or redness in my eyes the entire time. My eyes may have never been so black, but they had never been so white, either.

So the next time your packing all your 3-ounce-or-less liquids for a trip on the airplane, remember to be careful. All those bottles may  look alike, but they are definitely not the same thing.

Strangle enough I also learned about under/over exposure on my camera this trip, too
Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands.



  1. I loved it when you made that trip and the other trip to made to El Paso. It is always fun to have family at the house. I don't remember much about that time because we had so many people in the house and the wedding and all. Glad your eyes recovered and didn't die.

  2. My eye is burning for you! I have done many stupid eye things, including mistaking astringent for my contact solution. I am pretty blind without contacts in.

  3. So basically you won't need allergy eye drops for like...eternity, right? ;) My MIL accidentally used Super Glue. Yeah, Super Glue. It wasn't pretty.

  4. Ah, my first real exposure to the entire Tucker family. That memory will last forever. Whether I want it or not.

  5. My eyes are watering just reading this!

  6. OUCH! That whole thing sounds like a nightmare- especially the part about going to El Paso- hands down the ugliest town I've ever been to. I tease. Sort of. The eye thing is awful!

  7. Just reading that makes my eyes hurt! I'm so glad you recovered, but what a funny story!
    On my mission in Thailand, I was cooking dinner (with Thai habanero-like chiles) and touched my eye. Big mistakes! I seriously thought I was going to die. I had washed my hands and then tried to take my contacts out. All of the chili oil wasn't off, so now I had the chili in both eyes. I had to throw those contacts away (disposable, thankfully) and wear my glasses to go teach that night. My eyes were red and swollen like a bee-sting.
    Oddly enough, every Thai person knew exactly what had happened, "You got thai chili in your eye, Sister?" My eyes burned for days.

  8. oooh, it hasn't been so long since I nearly burned my own eyeballs out with that new 'works like a charm' contact lens solution that MUST be used in their special case... MUST being in caps in a big red band on the side of the bottle... only without my contacts in I missed that part...

    kinda like putting Hydrogen Peroxide in your eyes...

    no... EXACTLY like Peroxide on the eyeballs...

    it still hurts to think about it.

    sorry - take a few days to rest your eyeballs 'k?

  9. That is scary! And my eyeballs hurt just reading this story!! Glad you didn't kill them forever ;)

  10. Oooh, I was wincing as I read- ouch!

  11. Reminds me of the time I put nose drops in my eye. That was no fun either.

  12. Ouch! Years ago there was an incident in our house (not me) with someone who brushed teeth with spermicial jelly.

  13. I will let my husband read this next time he wonders why I like to check luggage.

  14. Dude remember when my eyes swoll up with allergies and I called you in the middle of the night. I was SO freaked out. I'm glad you had already experienced it.

    I think I remember this happening. That was a wild trip but the last time I saw Barlow and Brenda and their families. Crazy huh?

  15. I soaked my contacts in cleaning solution one night rather than saline. The following morning when I put the right one in, the burning and pain was immediate and intense. It took several minutes to get it out because my eye refused to open. In the end, the skin around my eye was red and puffy and one lovely brown eye had been been bleached some sort of cream color. The color eventually came back, but I couldn't wear a contact in that eye for two weeks while everything healed.