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File photo: the man's eye had to be cleared of the glue by doctors iStock

A 64-year-old man in the UK ended up in a terrfying situation when reportedly glued his eye shut with a bottle of Boots clear nail glue, which he mistook for his medical eye drops. After attempting to ease the problem by rinsing his eye with water, the man ended up at an A&E at Oxford Eye Hospital.

The man had "severe pain" in his left eye and blurred vision, according to a report recently republished by the British Medical Journal. His eye had to be pried open by doctors so the glue could be removed, a procedure that was done without anasethesia.

The incident occured in 2010 but has recently come to light after the BMJ republished a large number of case reports.

According to the doctors, people accidentally using glue instead of eye drops "has been reported frequently since 1982" when superglue was first packaged in a similar way to medical eye drops. The case highlights the need to promote the introduction of a universal safety mechanism, the doctors posit.

The man had undergone a cataract procedure 13 months before the incident, leading him to be prescribed the Timolol eye drops that he would mistake the nail glue for. A few weeks after the incident, doctors said a follow-up showed that his eye had largely healed.

Between 1982 and 2009, there were 26 reported cases of people accidentally having superglue used in their eyes. The youngest victim was just one-year-old.

Nail glue next to eye drops
Front view of the Boots Clear Nail Glue bottle on the left beside Timolol 0.25% eye drops BMJ

"[A]s yet there appears to be no action on behalf of the companies that design the packaging for commercial glues and/or eye medication preparations, despite the frequent reporting of these episodes," the doctors write, suggesting that glues and medications need to be bottled in ways that make them distinct to stop such incidents reoccuring.

"The majority of these accidents in each of the patient groups described are preventable by a relatively simple modification to the opening mechanism of the bottle tops on superglue preparations."