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Ophthalmology & Optometry/Distilled water in my eyes. Is it bad?


Hi Dr.

I am a student in a molecular biology lab and today I accidentally splashed distilled water on my eyes. I was trying to splash water on my eyes to wake up as I was quite tired and I accidentally used the distilled water tap instead of the regular tap water. I did not get any chemicals in my eyes, just distilled water. I know that distilled water is not meant for drinking and I am now worried that that was bad for my eyes as I did some research online and found some scary things. I read that water dries your eyes, and if you put distilled water in your eyes, they might get red and itchy. To be honest my eyes feel itchy now and dry but that could very well all be in my head. I also read that if you put one drop of distilled water inside an eye, the eye turns opaque when the cells inside the eyes are killed off as the minerals are pulled out of the eye. I really hope my eyes are okay. Please let me know what to do or if I should worry. Thanks

Hi Daniel,
No worries, it should be fine. You can buy a bottle of 'eye lubricating drops' at a store which has soothing and lubricating components to help the eye feel better. Probably distilled is better than tap as far as chemical irritations go. The normal tear chemistry is complex, but waster as a rinsing agent is safe so I wouldn't worry. Things that go inside the eye are very specialized, but we aren't talking intraocular things here. I often tell patients, no matter what the problem or symptom is, that it's 'all in your head' LOL.
Thank you,
Mitch Axelrod, OD

Ophthalmology & Optometry

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Mitchell Axelrod


I'm happy to answer questions about eye exam findings and procedures, glasses and contact lens types/prescriptions/problems. I can also answer questions about general eye conditions/diseases. I do not answer questions concerning surgical techniques/procedures. Please state your age or within a small range when asking questions, as it is often important.


Optometrist 19 yrs.

Doctor of Optometry, cum laude; Residency in Ocular Disease

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