A 19-year-old student was almost blinded after a pot of boiling chocolate exploded in his face.
Samantha D’Aprile, of Chicago, Illinois, was making cookies with her mother in December 2021 when the pot broke as she bent over, sending hot chocolate and shards of glass into her eyes.
She rushed to the bathroom and splashed water on her face, but her eyes quickly became swollen and her eyelids were sealed shut. They remained sealed for five days, and doctors said the damage was as bad as if someone had taken a ‘razor blade’ to them.
But Ms D’Aprile, who had perfect vision before the accident, has now made a ‘miraculous’ recovery and can see again after resting at home. It comes after a teenager in Georgia was blinded in one eye when her hair dye tube exploded.
Ms D’Aprile, shown above after the accident, has recovered and is regaining her normal vision. The doctor described it as a ‘miracle’, and said that the moment he splashed water on his face saved his eye.
Doctors released him after two days in the hospital so he could recover at home, but he 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 while she was in hospital, and afterwards when she was able to open her eyes again.
“When I found out my vision was almost gone, I told the doctor I didn’t want to live anymore,” Ms D’Aprile told DailyMail.com.
‘I was in such a dark place and I was so mad that for days I couldn’t see. I can’t imagine the rest of my life being like that.’
She added: ‘Going from having perfect vision the next day to being told I could be blind for the rest of my life is the scariest thing I’ve ever been through and I can’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 swell.
He was rushed to hospital by his mother but had to be transferred to another unit after the one they went to said it was not on fire.
He said: “I was in so much pain that my body started to shut down, they gave me morphine which helped with the pain and I was able to breathe again.
Samantha D’Aprile, 19, of Chicago, Illinois, was making cookies with her mother in December 2021 when a bowl of boiling chocolate exploded in her face. The mother was rushed to the hospital, but she could not open her eyes for five days (Pictured above at the hospital)
Miss D’Aprile, shown above with a friend, pictured before the accident. He rushed to the bathroom to splash water on his face when the chocolate pot exploded
Ms D’Aprile was pictured in hospital following her injuries. He suffered burns to his face and eyes, which left him unable to see for five days
“When I got to the hospital, they immediately emptied me into a room and did all kinds of treatments and tests on me.
‘At this point, my eyes were swollen shut, I couldn’t open my mouth because it was also burned shut, and I was very high on all these medications.’
An examination revealed that he had burned his cornea – or the transparent, dome-shaped area at the top of the eye.
his eyelids also burned.
Medics kept him in the hospital for two nights to monitor him and administer treatment.
But Ms D’Aprile said the night was ‘brutal’ and left her ‘sleepless’
He said: ‘I couldn’t sleep, and whatever sleep I got, I was woken up by the nurses giving me medication and they were prying my eyes open to put the drops in, which hurt a lot.’
He was also given instructions by a blind specialist while in the hospital on how to walk, go to the bathroom, and perform other daily tasks without being able to see.
Doctors treat eye burns using cycloplegic eyedrops, which temporarily paralyze the ring-shaped muscles that change the shape of the lens of our eyes – so that it focuses. This muscle can spasm after burning.
Patients may also be treated with antibiotic eye ointment to prevent infection.
Painkillers can also be administered.
Doctors discharged Ms D’Aprile after two days so she could recover at home, although she still had to return every day for tests.
The student said: ‘Every day passes and I sit in bed with my eyes closed.
‘I was mad at the fact that I was seeing black and there was nothing I could do to fix it.
“On the third day of not being able to see, the doctor opened my eyes to check if I had vision.
“The doctor opened them and I could barely see, but he put “band-aids” on my eyes.
‘He described my eyes as if someone had taken a razor and cut them both.’
Doctors fear Ms D’Aprile may lose her vision, or have reduced vision should there be a clouded spot on her cornea – which could be caused by an injury.
He said: ‘I have an 80 per cent chance of being color blind because my cornea is so damaged.
‘I pray to God several times a day for me to keep my vision and that’s the only hope I have.’
To help her eyes heal cold water was running over them. This can also help soothe the pain
Ms D’Aprile is shown above with her mother. After the accident, he rushed to the bathroom to splash water on his face
Five days after the accident, it was Christmas Day and the student decided to try and open his eyes again on his own.
He found that he could open it a little, although this was very painful.
About two weeks after the accident, Ms. D’Aprile found that her vision was back to normal and she was able to do everything she used to do.
This includes reading, driving, looking at electronics, and finding that his eyes are less painful to open.
More than a year after the accident, Ms D’Aprile said her vision had returned to normal.
But he says it still left a scar on his mental health.
“I got a panic attack about the accident but have learned to cope with certain triggers,” she said.
“I used to be super stubborn and never overthink, but now I usually don’t do anything outside my comfort zone and I’m more grounded.
“It’s all a job and all it takes is time to heal so I know it will be better with the mental factor but the accident is still relevant and I just have to ease myself and realize that this is all normal and a part of the healing process.
“My plan for the future is to finish school and get a good job in marketing, but above all to live every day and make the most memories with friends and family.”
How to treat eye burns?
Your eyes can be injured if they are hit or scraped by objects such as metal slivers or wood chips, doused with boiling substances or exposed to chemicals.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about 2,000 Americans injure their eyes every day at work.
Thermal burns to the surface of the eye tend to damage the conjunctiva or cornea, the transparent part of the eye covering the iris and pupil.
Doctors may advise people to take painkillers, to relieve the pain.
Patients can also receive cycloplegic eye drops, which can prevent painful muscle spasms that constrict the pupils.
Antibiotics can also be used to help prevent infection.
If the eyelid is burnt, the doctor says that this should be cleaned and then antibiotics applied to prevent infection.
Source: Merck Manual