Caution to Patients with
Poor Eyesight: How to Avoid a "Sticky" Situation
If you are a patient with poor eyesight, and take medications,
you may need to take extra precautions in order to prevent
dangerous medication errors. Reading the outside of the prescription
container is the only safe way to ensure that you have selected
the correct medication to use. When poor eyesight interferes,
you may be at great risk for choosing the wrong medication,
or worse choosing a non-medication to use in its' place. Recently,
a woman in New Jersey placed super glue into one of her eyes
instead of eye drops and glued her eyelids together. She could
not see so she had to call the police to transport her to
the hospital for treatment. Fortunately, she did not have
permanent damage to her eyes. There are several other documented
cases where this same situation has happened before. Any product
that is packaged like eye drops, or ear drops could potentially
lead to this type of error, particularly if stored in a bathroom
or near medications.
We recommend that if you have poor eyesight, try to purchase
non-medication products in different types of containers.
For your safety, do not purchase super glue in a container
that looks like eye or ear medication.. If you purchase super
glue in a tube form, use caution, as it can be mistaken for
a medical product in ointment form.
Pay close attention to where you keep these products. Store
your medications in a separate location, away from other products.
Keep similar looking products that are not medicine, but resemble
medication packaging, in an a separate storage container to
help you from accidentally confusing the two containers.
Don't hesitate to use a magnifying glass if you need help
reading the label. Special magnifying products that attach
to the outside of insulin vials and syringes are also commercially
available. These can be helpful if you have trouble viewing
the small print or markings on these products. Check with
your local pharmacist if you feel you could benefit from these
Institute for Safe Medication Practices