A 19-year-old student was nearly blinded after a pot of boiling chocolate exploded in her face.
Samantha D’Aprile, of Chicago, Illinois, was baking cookies with her mother in December 2021 when the pot shattered as she was hunched over, sending hot chocolate and shards of glass into her eyes.
He rushed to the bathroom and splashed water on his face, but his eyes quickly swelled and his eyelids closed tightly. They remained sealed for five days, with doctors saying the damage was so bad it was like someone had taken a “razor blade”.
But Ms D’Aprile, who had perfect sight before the accident, has now made a “miraculous” recovery and is able to see perfectly again after resting at home. It comes after a Georgia teenager was blinded in one eye when her tube of hair dye exploded.
Ms. D’Aprile, pictured above, made a full recovery and regained normal vision after the accident. Doctors described it as a ‘miracle’ and said the moment she splashed water on her face may have saved her eyes
Doctors released her after two days in the hospital so she could recover at home, but she had to come back every day for tests. On the fifth day, Christmas Day, he managed to open his eyes again
Ms D’Aprile is pictured above during her time in hospital and afterwards when she was able to open her eyes.
“When I found out my sight was almost gone, I told the doctors I didn’t want to live,” Ms D’Aprile told DailyMail.com.
“I was in such a dark place and I was going crazy the few days I couldn’t see. I couldn’t imagine the rest of my life like this.
She added: “Going from perfect vision to being told the next day I could be blind for the rest of my life was the scariest thing I’ve ever been through and I couldn’t wrap my head around it.”
After the pot exploded in her face, Ms D’Aprile said her eyes felt like they were “on fire” as they began to close.
She was rushed to hospital by her mother but had to be transferred to another unit after the one they went to said they didn’t deal with burns.
She said: “I was in so much pain that my body started to shut down, they gave me morphine which helped the pain and I was able to breathe again.
Samantha D’Aprile, 19, of Chicago, Illinois, was baking cookies with her mother in December 2021 when a bowl of boiling chocolate exploded in her face. Her mother rushed her to hospital but she was unable to open her eyes for five days (Pictured above in hospital)
Ms D’Aprile, pictured above with a friend, pictured before the accident. He rushed to the bathroom to splash water on his face when the bowl of chocolate exploded
Mrs D’Aprile pictured in hospital after her injury. She suffered burns to her face and eyes, which left her unable to see for five days.
“When I got to the hospital, they immediately took me into a room and did all kinds of treatments and tests.
“At this point, my eyes were swollen shut, I couldn’t open my mouth because that was burned too, and I was very consumed by all this medication.”
An examination revealed that he had burned his cornea – or the clear, dome-shaped area at the top of the eye.
His eyelids were also burned.
Doctors kept her in the hospital for two nights to monitor and administer treatment.
But Ms D’Aprile said the nights were “brutal” and left her “unable to sleep”
She said: “I couldn’t sleep and any sleep I did have I was woken up by nurses giving me medicine and opening my eyes to put drops in which was very painful.”
She also received instructions from a blind specialist while in the hospital on how to walk, go to the bathroom and do other daily tasks without being able to see.
Doctors treat eye burns using cycloplegic eye drops, which temporarily paralyze the ring-shaped muscle that changes the shape of the eye’s lens – allowing it to focus. These muscles may spasm after burns.
Patients may also be given an antibiotic eye ointment to prevent infection.
Analgesics may also be administered.
Doctors discharged Ms D’Aprile after two days so she could recover at home, although she still had to return daily for tests.
The student said: “Every day passed with me lying in bed with my eyes closed.
“I was going crazy because I saw darkness and there was nothing I could do to fix it.
“On the third day when I couldn’t see, the doctor opened my eyes to check if I could still see.
“The doctor opened them up and I could barely see, but he slipped me meshes with ‘chimuri.’
“He described my eyes as if someone had taken a razor and cut them both off.”
Doctors feared Ms D’Aprile could lose her sight or have reduced vision if cloudy spots – which can be caused by injuries – were left in her cornea.
She said: “I had an 80 per cent chance of being color blind because my cornea was so damaged.
“I prayed to God several times a day to keep my vision and that was the only hope I had.”
To help his eyes heal, cold water was run over them. This can also help relieve pain
Mrs. D’Aprile is pictured above with her mother. After the accident, she rushed to the bathroom to splash water on her face
Five days after the accident, it was Christmas Day and the student decided to try to open her eyes again.
He found that he was able to open them easily, although this was extremely painful.
About two weeks after the accident, Ms. D’Aprile found that her vision had returned to normal and she was able to do everything she used to do.
This included reading, driving, looking at electronics and finding that her eyes were less painful to open.
However, more than a year after the accident, Ms D’Aprile says her vision is completely back to normal.
But she says it still left scars on her mental health.
“I get panic attacks about the accident, but I’ve learned to deal with it and what certain triggers are,” she said.
“I used to be super rebellious and never really think, but now I don’t do anything outside my comfort zone and I’m much more down to earth.
“Everything is a work in progress and all it takes is time to heal, so I know it will get better with the mental factors, but the accident is still relevant and I just have to be easy on myself and realize that everything is normal and part of the healing process.
“My plans for the future are to finish school and get a good job in marketing, but mainly to live each day to the fullest and make the most memories with my friends and family.”
How are burned eyes treated?
Your eyes can be injured if they are struck or scratched by an object such as metal shavings or wood chips, splashed with a boiling substance, or exposed to chemicals.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that about 2,000 Americans injure their eyes every day at work.
Thermal burns on the surface of the eye tend to affect the conjunctiva or cornea, the transparent part of the eye covering the iris and pupil.
Doctors may advise people to take painkillers to ease the pain.
Patients may also be given cycloplegic eye drops, which can prevent painful spasms of the muscles that constrict the pupil.
Antibiotics may also be given to help prevent an infection.
If the eyelids are burned, doctors say they should be cleaned and then given an antibiotic to prevent an infection.
Source: Merck Manual