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Old 06/04/2010, 04:11 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 18
Palytoxin Poisoning

My good friend Mucho Reef asked me to stop by and share my story. I can only hope that I help at least one reefer avoid what I went/am going through!

I am writing this to stress the importance to everyone new and old reefers alike.... NEVER forget to wash your hands after handling anything in your tank.... your sight may depend on it.

On Wednesday 05-12-2010 I was messing around in the tank, the tank and inhabitants are sold and I'm awaiting him to pick it up right now. Anyway, the tank is at my shop where I work..... I fragged a colony of purple deaths for a friend and after having my hands in the tank, I got busy at work and neglected to wash my hands. Not long afterward I felt something in my left eye, rubbed it, and the drama begins!

Wednesday evening the eye was irritated and getting more so as the evening went on... I tried rinsing the eye under water, but that didn't help. I had some re-wetting drops that a friend that works for an eye doctor gave me. I tried those, and within 5 minutes, I was in pain so severe, I had never felt anything like it before. I finally called a friend to drive me to ER that night... The doctor there said that other than the irritation, he couldn't see anything wrong, They flushed the eye and recommended I see an ophthalmologist on Thursday.

this is how my eye looked on Thursday morning.

Went to the ophthalmologist Thursday and after he had looked at it for about 5 minutes, I was told he'd never seen anything like that and I needed to go to the Kellogg eye center at U of M in Ann Arbor. For those who don't know, when a doctor tells you you need to go to U of M around here, it usually means it's something serious!

After about 4 or 5 hours at U of M and about 6 or 7 doctors later, they prescribed some antibiotic eye drops and some steroid eye drops. 1 drop 4 times a day in each eye from each drop. The eye was so swollen that I could not open it all, and even when the eyelid was pried open, it could only be opened slightly. I had no sight in the eye other than light.. No shapes or colors were visible. They sent me home and wanted to see me again the following day.

Friday morning was much better...... the swelling had decreased noticeably and I could vaguely see shapes and slight tints of color. I got good news at U of M that day that they didn't anticipate any permanent damage to the eye. I was told to continue the drops and come back on tuesday again.

This is how it looked on Friday morning

Over the weekend the swelling continued to get less, and the eye started to open some...... though the eye was very bright red in appearance. the Sight had continued to get better in the left eye, On Tuesday I could still only make out shapes and colors.. I still couldn't read anything with that eye. I could make things or people out well enough to identify them, but that's about it.

Tuesday 05-18-2010 this is how the eye looked.

you can still see the pink in the eye, and no longer the red like it was, as you see the eye is still not open all the way, though that seemed to improve a small amount each day.

The doctors at U of M say, there was still an unusual inflammation of the cornea, but that they still didn't feel there is any permanent damage to the eye or eyesight. I had to trust them at this point and hope they were right.

06/04/2010 - It's been 3 weeks now since the incident. my cornea is still slightly inflamed. One of the doctors there keeps telling me my eye is still angry! LOL She insists it's a medical term! I have probably somewhere around 95% of my sight back in that eye.... I can see everything ok, but it's all still just a little fuzzy.... The inside corner of the eye is still a little red, but you probably wouldn't notice it looking at me unless you were looking for it.

My last trip to the doctor at U of M he looked at it and said, "Wow, what a relief! It looks so much better now. I was really worried for you that first day!" I'm torn whether to think, I would have wanted to know that then...... or now... I guess now is best, because I was worried enough for myself the first few days!

Please, PLEASE don't forget to wash your hands after handling your coral! I know better than this..... I have had saltwater tanks for years and years... and ALWAYS wash my hands afterward..... well, I guess now I can only say usually......

I write this only as a caution to others..... don't forget again.... you're sight depends on it!!!

Thanks for reading.....

Take care


I bet if you drive your car off a cliff, you still hit that brake pedal on the way down.
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