A 19-year-old student nearly went blind after a boiling pot of chocolate exploded in her face.
Samantha D’Aprile, of Chicago, Illinois, was baking cookies with her mother in December 2021 when the pot shattered when she bent over it, throwing scalding hot chocolate and shards of glass into her eyes.
She hurried to the bathroom and splashed water on her face, but her eyes soon swelled and her eyelids closed. They remained sealed for five days, with doctors saying the damage was so bad it looked like someone had brought a ‘razor blade’ to them.
But Mrs. D’Aprile, who had perfect sight before the accident, has now miraculously recovered and can see perfectly again after a rest at home. It comes after a teen in Georgia went blind in one eye when her hair dye tube exploded.
Mrs. D’Aprile, pictured above after the accident, has made a full recovery and has her normal eyesight back. 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 day five, Christmas Day, she managed to open her eyes again
Ms. D’Aprile is pictured above during her hospital stay and afterwards when she was able to open her eyes again
“When I found out my eyesight was almost gone, I told the doctors I didn’t want to live anymore,” Ms. D’Aprile told DailyMail.com.
“I was in such a dark place and I went crazy for the few days I couldn’t see. I couldn’t imagine the rest of my life like that.’
She added, “Going from having perfect vision to being told the next day that I could be blind for the rest of my life was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced and I couldn’t get around it.”
After the jar exploded in her face, Ms. D’Aprile said her eyes felt like they were “on fire” as they began to swell shut.
She was rushed to hospital by her mother, but had to be transferred to another ward after the ward they went to said it did not treat burns.
She said: ‘I was in so much pain that my body started shutting down, they gave me morphine, which helped with the pain and I could 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 the hospital, but she couldn’t open her eyes for five days (pictured above in the hospital)
Mrs D’Aprile, pictured above with a friend, pictured before the accident. She hurried to the bathroom to splash water in her face when the chocolate pot exploded
Mrs D’Aprile photographed in hospital after the injury. She suffered burns to her face and eyes that left her sightless for five days
“When I got to the hospital, they immediately put me in a room and did all kinds of treatments and tests on me.
“At that point my eyes were swollen shut, I couldn’t open my mouth because it was also burned shut, and I was very high from all these drugs.”
An examination revealed that she had burned her cornea – or the transparent dome-shaped area at the top of the eye.
Her eyelids were also burned.
Medics kept her in the hospital for two nights to monitor and treat her.
But Ms D’Aprile said the nights were ‘cruel’ and she was ‘unable to sleep’
She said, “I couldn’t sleep, and every sleep I got I was awakened by nurses giving me medicine and prying open my eyes to put in drops, which was very painful.”
She also received instructions from a blind specialist at 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 eye drops, which temporarily paralyze the annular muscle that changes the shape of the lens of the eye, allowing it to focus. These muscles can spasm after a burn.
Patients may also be administered with an antibiotic eye ointment to prevent infection.
Pain relievers may also be administered.
Doctors discharged Ms. D’Aprile after two days so she could recuperate at home, though she still had to return daily for tests.
The student said, ‘Each day went by as I sat in bed with my eyes closed.
“It drove me crazy seeing darkness and there was nothing I could do to fix it.
“On the third day I couldn’t see, the doctor opened my eyes to test if I could still see.
“The doctor opened them up and I could barely see, but he put ‘patches’ in for my eyes.
“He described my eyes as if someone took a razor and cut them both.”
Doctors feared Ms D’Aprile would lose her sight, or have her eyesight reduced if cloudy patches were left in her cornea – which could be caused by injuries.
She said, “I had an 80 percent chance of going 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 her eyes heal, cold water was run over them. This can also help ease the 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 on her own.
She found she could open them a little, although this was extremely painful.
About two weeks after the accident, Mrs. D’Aprile found that her eyesight had returned to normal and she could do everything she used to do.
This included reading, driving, looking at electronics, and discovering that opening her eyes was less painful.
However, more than a year after the accident, Ms. D’Aprile says her vision is back to normal.
But she says it still left scars on her mental health.
“I’m having panic attacks about the accident, but have learned to deal with it and what certain triggers are,” she said.
“I used to be super rebellious and never an overthinker, but now I don’t usually do anything outside of my comfort zone and I’m much more grounded.
“It’s all 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 need to be easier on myself and realize that this is all normal and part of the healing process.
“My plans for the future are to finish school and get a good job in marketing, but most of all to live every day to the fullest and make the most memories with my friends and family.”
How are sunburned eyes treated?
Your eyes can be injured if they are hit or scraped by an object such as metal shavings or wood chips, splashes of boiling substance, or exposure 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 that covers the iris and pupil.
Doctors may advise people to take painkillers to relieve the pain.
Patients may also receive cycloplegic eye drops, which can prevent painful spasms of the muscles that constrict the pupil.
Antibiotics may also be administered to help prevent infection.
If the eyelids are burned, doctors say they should be cleaned and then an antibiotic applied to prevent infection.
Source: Merck manual