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Getting hand sanitizer in your eyes can cause serious injuries, FDA warns

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Washington — Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can cause serious eye injuries when splashed into the eyes or if you touch your eyes shortly after use, the Food and Drug Administration is warning.

According to the FDA, eye exposure to hand sanitizer has been reported in all age groups, but has occurred most often among children. Serious injuries including damage to the surface of the eye and severe irritation.

“Such eye injuries have become much more frequent, likely due to the marked increase in the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the FDA says in a drug safety communication.

The Drug Facts label for hand sanitizers warns against using the products near or in the eyes.

“At this time, we are not making any changes to the Drug Facts label but wanted to make the public aware of this growing safety issue,” the FDA says. “We will follow up if additional information becomes available.”


The FDA advises parents and caregivers to supervise children, “particularly those younger than 6 years old.” The agency adds that hand sanitizer dispensers are often at children’s eye level and may splash into their faces.

The FDA recommends storing alcohol-based hand sanitizers, along with all other medicines, out of kids’ sight and reach.

“If alcohol-based hand sanitizer does accidentally splash or get in your eyes, or those of a child, immediately and thoroughly rinse them under gently running water such as from a sink tap, water bottle or emergency shower for at least 15 to 20 minutes,” the agency says.

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