Moisture absorber in biscuit pack damages Vietnamese boy's cornea

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Dung, 3, with his mother at the National Institute of Ophthalmology in Hanoi after moisture absorber in a biscuist pack injured his left eye

A three-year-old boy in the northern Vietnamese province of Bac Giang has had his cornea injured by moisture-absorbing powder in a pack of biscuits.

The mother of the boy -- identified only by his first name Dung -- said she had opened the pack for him but not thrown away the bag of desiccant inside.

Dung bit the bag out of curiosity and the powder flew into his left eye, and he could not open the eye, she told news website VnExpress.

She took him immediately to a nearby clinic where doctors cleaned his eye.

The unfortunate incident happened last month. 

Doctors at the National Institute of Ophthalmology Hospital in Hanoi, who later treated the boy, said it was the first such case at the hospital.

He needs surgery but may or not may not get back normal sight, they said.

He is currently only be able to see blurred images with the damage eye, and pupil is discolored.

Tran Hong Con, a chemistry lecturer at the Hanoi University of Natural Sciences, said moisture absorbents are normally silica gel and not powder.

So the powder in this case could be lime powder used by unofficial producers, he said, explaining that desiccants absorb all moisture from the eyes if they get into them.

Doctors said the first thing to do in cases like this is to remove the substance by washing the eyes with clean water.

Adults should throw away desiccants found in foods and others since they could also poison children who swallow them.

At least one child has been hospitalized in Ho Chi Minh City after swallowing a desiccant.

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