ZocdocAnswersI drank eye drops by accident but don't feel anything wrong with me so far. What to do?

Question

I drank eye drops by accident but don't feel anything wrong with me so far. What to do?

It says tetrahydrozoline hcl and expired last month.

Answer

Tetrahydrozoline is a compound that is used in eye drops to constrict the blood vessels in the eye and relieve redness. However, if ingested, it can be extremely dangerous, and may cause severe nausea, vomiting, and even seizures and coma depending on how much is consumed and what reaction your body has to it. I would suggest calling your doctor right away and informing him or her that you ingested these drops for the reasons above. Tetrahydrozoline is the main compound in products such as visine, which are used to relieve eye redness that results from ocular irritants. As stated above, this therapeutic effect is derived from tetrahydrozoline's ability to constrict blood vessels in the conjunctiva of the eye. It does this by binding to certain receptors on blood vessels that control blood vessel constriction and relaxation. However, if this compound is ingested, its effects become more wide-spread, as it enters your blood stream. The receptors where it acts exist throughout the intestines, and activation of them can cause diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Additionally, this compound can act throughout the blood vessels of your body, causing what is termed vasospasm, thus raising the blood pressure and reducing blood flow to vital organs in your body. These receptors even exist in the brain. If you ingested a very small amount of this compound, it is likely that it will have no effect. However, I would recommend calling your doctor now, and at the first sign of any symptoms, I would immediately travel to the emergency room.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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