There have been a few questions about the deodorant in the eye incident. At great risk of humiliating myself more so than I usually do (oh, what the hell), I am posting the letter to P&G explaining in detail what happened that late summer day. With my documentation skills blazing a wide trail (all those years working with high risk and special needs teens), most of the letter gives great, boring details about the accidental application of the deodorant to the eye and what happened to the eye throughout the day. I have to say that Old Spice High Endurance is still my favorite deodorant, and I use it to this very day. And, I have to say that it kept my eye dry and fresh all day long. As I mentioned to Ms. Field, I think that the last three paragraphs sum up the experience. Feel free to skip (although if you do skip, you'll miss my conception in paragraph 8).
To Whom It May Concern:
In regards to the incident that occurred on 9/27/06: At approximately 5am, I prepared to put in my daily-wear disposable contacts. After washing my hands, I moved the deodorant aside in order to retrieve a new package of contacts, which I have kept in close proximity of each other for the last six years or so with no incident. In moving the deodorant, I must have dislodged a piece of deodorant from the cap or side of the stick. I put my left contact in without any disruption, but when I put my right one in, I immediately experienced a burning/stinging in the eye. I quickly removed and discarded the lens and noticed a small white particle stuck to my eye, just below the iris. I dabbed at this particle with my wet finger and was able to remove it. My eye continued to water for about 4-5 min.; I did not notice anything remaining in the eye and did not immediately experience anymore trauma. The outside of the deodorant container did not specify any measures to take in the event of any type of internal exposure, and since I did not see any more deodorant in the eye, I continued to prepare for work and wore my glasses in the place of contacts.
Within the hour, I began experiencing what seemed to be a film over the affected eye, a film that could not be blinked away. After trying to continue with my first job of the day, I left to return home in order to contact Proctor and Gamble for advise on how to remedy the blurred vision. By this time the blurring was bad enough to have affected my depth perception which made driving more interesting than it normally would have been, but the blurring had seemed to arrest, making my eye about twice as blurred as it was under normal circumstances, even with my glasses on.
At approximately 9am I contacted Jill at P&G’s customer service, after I had unsuccessfully searched for the product’s MSDS on the website. Jill took my information, apologized for my situation, and when asked by me if this was going to cause permanent damage, consulted her supervisor. Her reply was that none of P&G’s products would cause permanent damage. I should flush the eye for 15 minutes and that the blurring would eventually go away.
After rinsing with saline solution for approximately 5 minutes, I had to return to work. For the next hour and a half, I noticed that I was unable to read my computer screen and that the eye was beginning to blur more. It was at approximately 10:30 that I contacted my eye doctor to get advise from him. They said that the antiperspirant in the deodorant was probably drying out the eye and that I needed to come in to have it looked at. By my 2:30 appointment, my vision in my right eye had deteriorated to the point of not being able to see to read the eye chart (I could see shapes, but no details).
Dr. Klingenbeck irrigated the eye twice, treated it with an antibiotic, a steroid and a lubricant and was able to note, in detail, the abrasion left on my eye from the deodorant. I was then given a prescription for the same three medicines he had just used to take for the following week and was told that if I had not come in to have it treated, the blurring would not have gone away on its own and that I would have ended up with an infection within 24 hours. At that time, he could not say if the abrasion to the eye was going to result in permanent scar tissue.
Due to the fact that I did not wait for the blurred vision to go away on its own and the aggressive treatment by Dr. Klingenbeck, my eye began to regain vision approximately 12 hours after the initial exposure to the deodorant. Two days later, at my follow-up appointment with the doctor, the vision in my right eye was back to normal and I was healing nicely.
I have attached copies of all the receipts for the doctor’s visits and medications (all except the bill I shall receive from Blue Cross and Blue Shield once they have processed it) to show the type of treatment I received. Dr. Klingenbeck was also good enough to give me a condensed version of his lab notes for your records as well.
As I told Jill on the 27th, I am a stockholder with P&G and completely believe in your products. As a matter of fact, I would not exist at all if it had not been for P&G as my parents met and began dating over 39 years ago while working at P&G. I can’t tell you all of the P&G products I currently use, Old Spice High Endurance Deodorant (it works the best, although I don’t recommend it for the eye), Oil of Olay beauty products (what don’t I use in that line--they are divine); I could go on, but you know how good your products are (no need to preach to the choir). And I will continue to use P&G products because I have found them to be the best.
The only concern I have is the lack of information on the product’s label concerning how to deal with a situation in which a product is accidentally introduced into the body in a way it should not be. I worry about someone who is less likely to go ahead and call the doctor after speaking with a P&G representative and wait for the blurring to go away, or for the swelling to go down. I believe that Jill did and said what she needed to on the 27th of September when she spoke with me, but neither of us understood the possible trauma or gravity of the situation. It was only after I found myself driving about twenty-five miles per hour in a 55mph zone because I couldn’t tell how far away the other cars were that I realized that this could be a bad situation and that I need to seek treatment (and get off the road) because it wasn’t going away on its own. In fact it got much worse before it got better and it is my understanding that it was not going to get better without medical treatment of the eye. I believe that with antiperspirant in the eye, it would be best to recommend not just flushing of the eye, but irrigation of the eye and a visit with an eye care professional.
I hope that the information I have provided to you will assist in future phone assessments of accidental/wrongful exposure to one of your products. Accidents do happen, more often than we would like them to.
On a lighter note, one result of this accident has been the astonishing swiftness and capability of my friends and coworkers to make up the most remarkable jokes about deodorant in the eye. This too shall pass, of that I’m sure.