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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.

Last 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..... and after having my hands in the tank, I got busy here 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 moreso as the evening went on... I tried rinsing the eye under water, but that didn't help. I had some rewetting 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 U of M in Ann Arbor.

4 or 5 hours at U of M and about 6 doctors later, they prescribed some antibiotic eye drops and some steroid eye drops. 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 has continued to get better in the left eye, On Tuesday I can still only make out shapes and colors.. I still can't read anything with that eye. I can make things or people out well enough to identify them, but that's it.

Today, Tuesday 05-18-2010 this is how the eye looks now.



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 seems to improve a small amount each day.

The doctors at U of M say today, there is still an unusual inflamation of the cornea, but that they still don't feel there is any permanent damage to the eye or eyesight. I have to trust them at this point and hope they are right.

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

Dan
 

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Thanks for posting this Dan. It's good to hear that you're recovering well.

I'm curious, what did the doctors have to say about palytoxin? Did you figure it out immediately, or in hindsight?
 

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very nice caution thread with pictures. i am very impressed with what it did. I have always heard people say they got flu like symptoms from it.

Myself, i have neglected to follow and when i frag i never wear eye protection or gloves. That will now change from this point on. Just reading over it brought a tear to my eye because i can just see the pain it has probably caused you and it looked like it really hurt and just made my eyes tear up looking at the photos.

I guess this is all i needed to start being more cautious.

Very great thread thanks for sharing. I could of ended up with something like that one day if i never would of read this story. I will now take better precautions when fragging that's for sure.

Anyway, I hope it gets better! keep us filled in.
 

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Thanks for posting this Dan. It's good to hear that you're recovering well.

I'm curious, what did the doctors have to say about palytoxin? Did you figure it out immediately, or in hindsight?
I pretty much knew that night. This was different than just getting something in the eye. I could not get the eye to water like it normally would if there were something in it...... and the pain was totally unbearable... had to be more to it than a piece of dirt, plus there was nothing else that I did out of the ordinary. The doctors were pretty much baffled I think... They found no evidence of anything else.... yet cannot definetly say this is what it is too, but have pretty much accepted that this is what it must be. There are NO documented cases of palytoxin poisoning of the eye to compare it to, and I was told today they are considering publishing my case in the medical journal
 

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very nice caution thread with pictures. i am very impressed with what it did. I have always heard people say they got flu like symptoms from it.

Myself, i have neglected to follow and when i frag i never wear eye protection or gloves. That will now change from this point on. Just reading over it brought a tear to my eye because i can just see the pain it has probably caused you and it looked like it really hurt and just made my eyes tear up looking at the photos.

I guess this is all i needed to start being more cautious.

Very great thread thanks for sharing. I could of ended up with something like that one day if i never would of read this story. I will now take better precautions when fragging that's for sure.

Anyway, I hope it gets better! keep us filled in.
The Flu-like symptoms come from inhaling vapors from cutting the coral, or injesting the toxin in very small amounts... I"ve been there and done that too...... Nothing compared to this......

If I"ve helped ONE person avoid an injury like this... I'm happy... but I hope to help many more avoid it by using caution and common sense.... Please be careful! If you've never really looked up palytoxin.... this is from wikipedia: Palytoxin, isolated from soft coral, is considered to be one of the most toxic non-peptide substances known, second only to maitotoxin.
 

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Wow... sorry to hear about this. I hope it gets better soon.


What coral were you handling in the tank? Or were your hands just in the water? I'm just curious as to what you picked up. If it was just some weird strain of bacteria out of your tank or if it actually came from palythoa or some other neuro toxin excreted by one the other little pets.
 

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Great to see you recovered so well Dan -yes

It's baffling that these kinds of things exist, and yet there are many animals out there can will eat them as part of their natural diet :wacko:
 

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Wow... sorry to hear about this. I hope it gets better soon.

What coral were you handling in the tank? Or were your hands just in the water? I'm just curious as to what you picked up. If it was just some weird strain of bacteria out of your tank or if it actually came from palythoa or some other neuro toxin excreted by one the other little pets.
most of what is in my tank is palys and zoas, I had them in my hands....
 

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Thank you for posting this. The pictures are a reminder to all of us to wash our hands every time. I hope you don't have any damage to your eye.
 

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I feel your pain man.

I had the same thing happen to me about a month ago. I was cutting some zoas late at night and I must have rubbed my eye at some point. When I went to bed my eye was bothing me a bit but I didn't think much about it. When I woke up in the middle of the night to one of the worst pains iv ever felt I knew what it was. I tried washing it out using drop but nothing worked. As soon as I could I went to the eye docs and they also told me they have never seen anything like it and perscribed me so cipro drops. I couldn't see for a few days and any contact I made with my eye hurt like you wouldn't believe.
It's a pretty scary feeling you may look your sight.

About 2 weeks later I was cutting again and being extra careful of my eyes that it made me not think about my hands so much. I was wearing gloves up until the end and I w ready to put the frags back into the tank. I think I got a phone call or something but I took my gloves off and when I put the frags back I must have got some toxin in my finger. The pain didn't set in for about 3 hours but once it did it got worse and worse quick. By the next morning I could barley move my finger cause it hurt so bad. Odd thing about it it didn't swell very much. But I get flu like symptoms this time and had a bad taste in my mouth kinda like iron. I ended up wearing a splint on my finger for about a week cause even the slightest touch would pretty much bring me to my knees. I didn't go to the docs cause I knew all they would do is give me a z pack. I figured if it didn't go away in a week it would be time to go.

All it takes is a second to get that stuff in your system. I now treat these corals with a new respect cause I feel like I got lucky.
I have been fragging for over 2 years and these were my first insidents.

I'm glad your eye is going to be ok Dan. Like I said I feel your pain
 

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scary stuff when dealing with our eyes.

you facial expressions from pic to pic tell the story. the first pic definitely looks like a place i don't want to be.

i have always washed my hands but never wore glasses. i think i will next time. ;)
 

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YIKES! ohhh my.... looks so painful! thanks for the advice, im so bad about wearing any sort of protection, but thankfully i usually have my glasses on or i wouldnt be able to see a zoanthid let alone frag it! lol :wacko:
 

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Wow thanks for posting your experience and to illustrate some of the why we must caution when handling corals..
can we sticky post this in the coral propagation forum? that is if it is okay with the poster's picture being on it in a sticky thread. i think when people look for info on fragging and see this it may cause people to become more cautious. it has for me!
 

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palytoxin to the eye

I would just like to post a comment about palytoxin.
I have some palythoas that came in with live rock, that have started to grow out of control. While cleaning the aquarium, I attempted, unsuccessfully, to remove them by hand. A couple hours later, after apparently not washing my hands thoroughly, I touched my left eye. A day later and my eye is red, swollen, with keratitis (inflamed cornea). The pain is tremendous, like a nail driven through my eye. The culprit is undoubtedly the palytoxin. A few people on other sites have suggested bacterial infection as the cause, but there was no time for an infection to set in, the inflammation was very swift.
Please make sue you wash thoroughly after handling these polyps.

thanks
 

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palytoxin in the eye

I would just like to post a comment about palytoxin.
I have some palythoas that came in with live rock, that have started to grow out of control. While cleaning the aquarium, I attempted, unsuccessfully, to remove them by hand. A couple hours later, after apparently not washing my hands thoroughly, I touched my left eye. A day later and my eye is red, swollen, with keratitis (inflamed cornea). The pain is tremendous, like a nail driven through my eye. The culprit is undoubtedly the palytoxin. A few people on other sites have suggested bacterial infection as the cause, but there was no time for an infection to set in, the inflammation was very swift.
Please make sue you wash thoroughly after handling these polyps.

thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #20
that is a good way to describe the pain........ like a nail through the eye.... I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy..... if I had one!

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!

Anyway, Thank you all for the well-wishes and I truly cannot stress enough the importance of washing your hands after handling corals or even just having your hands inside the tank!!!!

have a GREAT day!

Dan
 
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