Visine Poisoning Can Be Fatal, Experts Caution

Kim LaCapria

A recent Visine poisoning (not the first to be newsworthy) has brought the somewhat common practice of spiking drinks with the substance into the spotlight again, and despite non-fatal outcomes in recent cases, drinking Visine can be deadly.

Earlier, The Inquisitr reported on a Visine poisoning last week in California. The suspect in the incident, 27-year-old mechanic Shayne Carpenter of Nevada County, admitted to police that he had put Visine in his girlfriend's drink after the two argued.

The woman who was the victim of the admitted Visine poisoning has not been identified, but she is recovering. As we reported earlier, Visine poisoning can result in a range of symptoms:

"Tetrahydrozoline, an ingredient found in Visine and other eye drops, can cause quite a few problems if it is ingested. Included in the symptoms are vomiting, blurred vision, rapid heartbeat, and difficulty breathing. The chemical can also cause tremors and seizures."

It appears the recent Visine poisoning in California was not intended to be fatal, but experts also warn that the common prank can turn deadly. According to Snopes, there is a common belief that adding Visine to the drink of another person will cause embarrassing side effects for the victim, the most common reasoning for the practice.

Given that Visine is designed to readily absorb into the eye area, it is also difficult to detect in a beverage. MedlinePlus has information on Visine's main ingredient, noting that "Tetrahydrozoline is a form of a medicine called imidazoline, which is found in over-the-counter eye drops and nasal sprays," and that "Tetrahydrozoline poisoning occurs when someone accidentally or intentionally swallows this product."

Another recent high-profile Visine poisoning incident had a far longer scope, and the victim in that case also survived. But while Visine poisoning seems to be growing in popularity either for pranking or revenge, Tetrahydrozoline can fatally disrupt the central nervous system, particularly in large doses or when affecting children.

Carpenter was charged with poisoning and domestic violence.