Monday, July 16, 2012

Cactus Juice in your eye

Here goes another unrelated off grid story but wanted to pass it on.
I have several Euphorbia Grandicornis, Big Horn cactus, that I have grown from buying cuttings years ago. They grow like crazy in the summer, I am talkin about a few inches a week. So yesterday I decided it was time to take a new cutting. I had a hard time with my old pruners but got through it. I have been told several times any cactus that has a white sap make sure and wash it off and never get it in your eyes. Well of course I had the sticky white sap on my hands and the pruners. I went over to the faucet and did a quick rinse on both. I then quickly patted dry the pruners and worked on them a bit to reshape the pulled apart blades. I went on about my morning and all of sudden my left eye was burning. I put in eye drops and it just burned more. The pain got intense so the first thing I did was wash my hands with soap and water like I should have done earlier. I then flushed it with more eye drops and washed around my eye. The pain got worse and worse. I have had jalape├▒o juice, cajun spices, gasoline, hot slag, and all kind of other crap in my eye but nothing that burned like this. Sandy ended up flushing the eye with 2 shot glasses of purified water and it did not help. It was the most excruciating pain ever. I got the shakes and erratic breathing thinking I was going to pass out. I was all but going into shock. After about an hour the pain was down to tolerable and another thirty minutes later I could actually open the eye and use it. It really felt like a mini cutting torch trying to cut through my eye. Today is feels swollen and sore and is really red.

So; If working with cactus and any sap gets on you wash it off thoroughly with soap and water and don't stick you finger in your eye. Lesson Learned!

8 comments:

Jim said...

I had no idea that would happen, I thought you could drink cactus juice.

Off Grid R and D said...

Obviouly not. In researching most cactus with a white thick sap is bad; Agave for terlingua good. :)

Snixiby said...

Thanks for this post. I was watering a potted cactus in the sink, and the top of it got caught on the cabinet knob above the sink. As I looked up to see what the problem was, a drop of sap landed squarely on my right tear duct. Nothing happened until about 15 minutes later, as the pain grew. I googled "cactus juice in the eye", and landed here. I had no idea what kind of cactus mine was, so I identified it as a euphorbia thru Google images. Rats!
2 ER's and two days later, I'm better, but boy, the pain was unreal...

Anonymous said...

This just happened to my husband who was pruning back a very tall cactus next to our house and a small bit of it fell into his eye. Lesson: Wear goggles when trimming this type of cactus. We tried an eye wash solution that I had and then milk. The milk seemed to help more but - slowly, his tears and sinuses were very active. In the morning he felt better but had a swollen bag under his eye. That day it progressively felt better and in the evening he said it felt normal, finally.

Anonymous said...

Cutting cactus with no gloves. Sap got on my hands and transferred to eye. Within 15 minutes, pain set in and flushing eyes with water did not solve issue. Blood shot eyes, sweeping around eye, and extreme pain. Trip to emergency room. Eye flushed with saline bag, attached to eye with contact type device and given topical eye drop pain medication. Left ER with liquid eye antibiotic.

Lauren Rinaldi said...

Well, this evening I found myself in the emergency room due to the same thing. I was moving a very tall (but very thin) cactus between room and kicked the top of the door way. That's when a glob of cactus sap made its way off the cactus and right between my eyes. The Droplet splashed on the bridge of my nose and infected both eyes. I guess now it the sitting and waiting game until my eyes are 100%. I was given a numbing solution but that only works for 30 mins. Now for antibiotics. Thanks for posting this. I would have never known what caused this crazy extreme pain. Nor would anyone have believed me.

Jon P said...

Glad my info was of some help. I have all kinds of cactus and take great care now to be extra careful. I have started wrapping them with a beach towel... especially at eye level and always thoroughly wash my hands after handling.

Anonymous said...

Just did the same thing. My glasses fell off and the sap jumps right In It is is like having pepper in my eyes. Totally my fault, I was talking on the mobile while cutting. Thanks for the post. I was really in a panic.