Prospective analysis of pediatric ocular chemical burns: laundry detergent pods

J AAPOS. 2018 Dec;22(6):426-428. doi: 10.1016/j.jaapos.2018.07.349. Epub 2018 Oct 17.


Purpose: To present data on chemical ocular burns in children seen at a single tertiary care facility resulting from accidental eye exposure to the contents of laundry detergent pods.

Methods: All emergent pediatric ophthalmology consultations specific for chemical ocular burns at a level I trauma center were included as part of a prospective quality improvement investigation over a 13-month period. Age, causative agent, and examination findings at presentation and final follow-up were recorded and analyzed.

Results: A total of 12 children with chemical ocular burns were seen during the study period. All patients were ≤5 years of age. Most chemical ocular burn consultations (n = 8) were specific to ocular exposure of laundry detergent pod contents; the remainder were associated with conventional cleaning agents or pesticides (n = 4). There was a significant association between laundry detergent pod as causative agent and a patient age of 2-5 years, compared to <2 years and any other agent (P = 0.018 [Fisher exact test]).

Conclusions: In our study, laundry detergent pods were the most frequent cause of chemical ocular burns in children. Additionally, preschoolers may be at a higher risk of sustaining these injuries. Increased public awareness, product safety improvements, and/or regulation may be advisable to decrease the ocular hazards associated with laundry detergent pods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Burns, Chemical / diagnosis
  • Burns, Chemical / epidemiology
  • Burns, Chemical / etiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Detergents / poisoning*
  • Eye Burns / chemically induced*
  • Eye Burns / diagnosis
  • Eye Burns / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Household Products / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Laundering / instrumentation*
  • Male
  • Product Packaging / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Detergents