A Florida mother-of-two was helping her daughter make Valentine’s Day cards when the pair decided to make the cards extra special by splashing each one with a little bit of gold glitter. However, little did 33-year-old Erica Diaz know that the choice to add gold glitter to the cards would change her life forever. The craft project ended up claiming Erica’s eye, landing her in the hospital for over a month, and almost taking her life. Now Diaz is speaking out about her ordeal and how the loss of her eye changed her life for the better.
The Daily Mail reports that mother Erica Diaz was doing something that many parents have done in the past when she ultimately lost her eye and nearly died. Diaz was helping her daughter Zoey make Valentine’s Day cards for her classmates in February of 2015 when she decided to make the cards extra special by adding gold glitter to each one. The cards were a success but as Erica went to clean up the fresh glitter mess, a single piece of glitter entered her eye.
Erica says that no matter how hard she tried, she could not remove the glitter as it seemed lodged in her eye. Unable to remove the glitter, doctors note that an infection set in Erica’s eye and caused sepsis, also known as blood poisoning. With the infection entering the blood, Erica’s body began to shut down completely and doctors feared she was near the end of her life, all due to a single piece of glitter.
When the piece of glitter first entered her eye, Erica says she used sterile saline to attempt to wash it out. She says that the eye initially felt better and she thought the piece of glitter was removed. However, discomfort returned that night and with her eye swollen upon waking, Erica found herself in the emergency room for extreme eye irritation. Doctors at the emergency room placed dye in Erica’s eye and informed her that it was just irritated and that no scratches were found, only redness and a little bit of swelling. Therefore, doctors sent her on her way with some eye drops.
The eye drops didn’t work and just two days after going to the emergency room, Erica says her eye turned milky and she lost her vision completely in her eye. She returned to the hospital where they informed her that the glitter had caused a hole in her cornea and was sent to a hospital in Miami that specialized in eyes.
“I didn’t know it but I would end up there almost every day sometimes for 18 hours a day for the next month.”
Doctors attempted two failed corneal transplants and gave the mother multiple injections in her eye. Ultimately, Erica would spend a month in the hospital battling the deadly infection as doctors attempted to save her vision. However, after losing all functions in her eye and the hole growing from one millimeter to seven millimeters in under a week, doctors focused on keeping the infection out of the eye by prescribing high-powered eye drops.
With multiple unsuccessful attempts to perform a corneal transplant and the infection growing, the doctors and Erica decided it was best to remove the eye completely.
“The surgeons and I decided that since I had no function left in the eye at all, it was constantly painful, and now could realistically lead to sepsis and death that it just needed to go.”
Erica was fitted with a prosthetic eye but says that she is grateful for the experience because it has taught her what is truly important in life. She says that despite the fact she is missing an eye she still feels beautiful and has developed a respect for herself that she doesn’t believe she would have had without this experience.
While Erica acknowledges that the glitter incident was a “freak accident” she wants to encourage parents to be careful with small particles and to wear proper eye protection when working with glitter. Did you know that glitter could be so dangerous?
[Image via Facebook/ Erica Diaz]