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Glow Sticks: Ouch in the Eyes!

The Bottom Line

Liquid from glow sticks can cause alarming eye pain but rarely cause injury.

The Full Story

Question: My 7 year old broke the glow stick that goes with her Halloween costume. It splashed in her eye. She's screaming that it hurts. What should I do?

Answer: Rinse her eyes with running water for 15-20 minutes. This is easiest in the shower. She can have the water at a comfortable temperature, hold her face to the shower, and blink her eyes. After 15-20 minutes of rinsing, let her rest with her eyes closed. In the meantime, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or use the webPOISONCONTROL® online tool for guidance. With this treatment she should be perfectly fine. Poison Control will stay in touch with you for a day or so to be sure.

The liquid in glow sticks can burn a lot when it splashed into the eyes. The combination of crying and running water will rinse it out so that it will feel better soon.

The fluid in glow sticks or light sticks can also irritate the skin if it's splashed or spilled. If it's swallowed, it can be irritating, but usually is not. Use the webPOISONCONTROL® online tool for guidance if you swallow, spill, or splash liquid from a glow stick, or call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.


Hoffman RJ, Nelson LS. Pediatric and young adult exposure to chemiluminescent glow sticks. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002;156:901-904.


Call 1-800-222-1222 or

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Prevention Tips

Glow sticks should be given only to children who are old enough to treat them carefully.