How Visine Eye Drops In The Mouth Can Kill, Here Are Two Cases (2022)

Don’t do what the Owen Wilson character did in the movie Wedding Crashers. Don’t do most things that he did. Don’t crash weddings to hook up with strangers. Don’t say that people use only 10% of their hearts when you reveal only 10% of your true identity. Don’t say “wow” so often. But most importantly don’t put Visine eye drops in someone’s drink. You could kill the person.

Just look at some recent eye dropping news. On Thursday, Lana Sue Clayton was sentenced to 25-years in prison for voluntary manslaughter. The former Veterans Affairs nurse and South Carolina resident had pleaded guilty of putting Visine eye drops in her husband’s drink. No, she didn’t just have bad aim. She admitted to doing this deliberately and surreptitiously. Her husband, Stephen Clayton, ended up passing away after three days. Here’s an ABC News segment on the case:

As Ryan Miller reported for the Greenville News, the 53-year-old Clayton pled guilty to“voluntary manslaughter and tampering with a food or drug after she admitted togiving her husband Steven Clayton drinks laced with Visine.”

Then there’s the case of Joshua Lee Hunsucker, a former paramedic in North Carolina, who’s been charged with first degree murder, as described by Mark Price for the Charlotte Observer. As this ABC News segment described, he allegedly used Visine eye drops to poison and eventually kill his wife, 32-year-old Stacy Robinson Hunsucker:

(Video) How Visine Eye Drops In The Mouth Can Kill Here Are Two Cases

Per the news segment, Hunsucker and his wife had been high school sweethearts. Apparently, her death had a sweetheart of an insurance pay-out: $250,000. According to Michael Banks, reporting for the Shelby Star, Hunsucker had resisted an autopsy being done before his wife’s body was cremated. As the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI) indicated, these circumstances led to an investigation by the NCDOI, the Gaston County (NC) Police Department, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) that then resulted in allegations of fraudulent life insurance claims. Eventually, the 35-year-old Hunsucker was arrested on December 19, 2019, and also charged with first degree murder.

I’ve reached out to Visine and Johnson & Johnson for comment on these cases. I will drop in updates here accordingly.

Eye drops like Visine, Murine Plus,and Clarine are marketed as ways for you to “get the red out” of your eyes. You can thank tetrahydrozoline for helping do this. Tetra-hi what? Tetrahydrozoline is a chemical that’s in many of these drops. It is a member of the imidazole family that can serve as decongestants and vasoconstrictors. “Vaso” stands for vessel as in blood vessel and “constrictor” means “make more narrow.” When blood vessels become more narrow, less blood can flow through them. Since blood is red, unless you are Vulcan, less blood may mean less redness.

(Video) JJ LONDYN- How Visine Eye Drops In The Mouth Can Kill, Here Are Two Cases

To do their thing, such eye drops should go into your, you guessed it, eyes. Not your mouth or other orifices. Otherwise, they’d be called “other orifice drops.” They are also called drops and not buckets because you are only supposed to use limited amounts. Typically, correct use is no more than two drops in your eyes six times a day. If you stay within these limits, your risk of bad toxicity may be relatively low.

It’s a different story if eye drops go down your mouth. Your eyes may be bigger than your stomach, but these body parts are just not the same. That’s why you don’t typically eat your contact lens. Tetrahydrozoline can be absorbed through your gastrointestinal tract into your main blood circulation much more readily and then travel to your heart and central nervous system. There it can get the drop on you and slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure to dangerous levels. It can also lead to a drop in body temperature, a coma, and, of course, death.

As the two cases demonstrated, even relatively small amounts can be toxic. The smaller the body size, the less that’s needed to cause major problems and even be life threatening. So if you’ve got children or very small actors around, make sure that you keep eye drops safe and secure. You don’t want them putting even a few milliliters of the stuff into their mouths.

If you suspect someone has ingested tetrahydrozoline, do not try to make the person vomit it back up as that may actually increase their absorption of the chemical. Instead, loosen any tight clothing that they may be wearing, such as a belt, a necktie, skinny jeans, or a Black Widow’s costume. If needed, administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Call poison control and get emergency care as soon as possible. Oh, and even if the person’s eyes are red, don’t give him or her more eye drops.

In general, be careful about using such eye drops, even if they go where they are supposed to go. While they are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for over-the-counter use, avoid using such medications unless you really need them. All medications can have side effects. Stop using such eye drops and call your doctor if you experience any other eye symptoms such as pain, changes in vision, pupil dilation, or excessively watery eyes when you are not watching the movie The Notebook. Watch out for any symptoms that occur beyond your eyes including a headache, dizziness, anxiety, chest pain, shortness of breath, or irregular heartbeats.

(Video) Eye Doctor Investigates "The Visine Killer" | Death By Tetrahydrozoline Eye Drops | Is It Possible?

Keep in mind that such eye drops primarily help with your appearance but do not necessarily address what’s actually causing the redness. Therefore, if you do have red eyes, don’t just use eye drops without first trying to figure out the cause. That can be like taking ibuprofen for pain caused by a harpoon stuck in you without first saying, “maybe, I should do something about this harpoon stuck in me.”

Sure, some causes of red eyes may be relatively benign. It could be from seasonal allergies, being tired, or smoking marijuana, for example. However, make sure that the redness is not from something more serious like a bad allergic reaction, an infection, glaucoma, or a harpoon. If the cause is not obvious or not minor, see your doctor as soon as possible, especially if there are accompanying symptoms such as loss of vision or the presence of a harpoon. For example, if the redness is actually blood gushing out of your eyeballs, don’t just put Visine on them.

Also, don’t believe the full-of-poop claims that such eyes drops can be a way of giving someone explosive diarrhea. The movie I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell and the television series Orange Is The New Black both had scenes in which this happened. There are certainly other better ways of giving someone explosive diarrhea, not that you should ever try to give someone such misery.

In general, don’t use The Wedding Crashers as a model for your behavior. Owen Wilson’s hair wouldn’t fly on most people. And do not put eye drops in anyone’s drink, even just a few drops to “prank” someone. This would not be a good prank. With such severe and potentially deadly risks, it is just not worth the squeeze.

UPDATE (1/22/2020): Johnson & Johnson has provided the following statement about the cases: “We’re deeply saddened to learn of this news and are devastated that anyone would use our product for such an abhorrent act. Using tetrahydrozoline (active ingredient in Visine) on the surface of the eye has been demonstrated to be safe for self-use for more than 50 years. Visine is clearly labeled for external use only and should never be swallowed.”

(Video) Visine & Other Murderous Steps


How Visine eye drops in the mouth can kill? ›

Tetrahydrozoline can be absorbed through your gastrointestinal tract into your main blood circulation much more readily and then travel to your heart and central nervous system. There it can get the drop on you and slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure to dangerous levels.

What happens when you spike a drink with eye drops? ›

When the drops are mixed with alcohol, the body temperature drops, heart rate slows down and the person becomes sweaty and drowsy, and may even lose consciousness. In severe cases, intoxication with this mixture can lead to memory loss, coma, and even death. "Visine does not have such a drastic effect," says Lotriet.

What do eye drops taste like? ›

Funny Taste

Some eye drops cause a sour or bitter taste more commonly than others. In some cases, eye drops draining into the throat can also cause acid reflux symptoms. There are several strategies available to reduce the incidence of eye drops going down the tear ducts and into the throat.

Will Visine hurt a dog if ingested? ›

Tetrahydrozoline, the active ingredient of Visine, is in the same drug class as oxymetazoline and causes similar symptoms in pets. Flavored chewable vitamins may be attractive to dogs. High doses of vitamin D can cause kidney failure. Very high doses of vitamin A can also cause serious problems in pets.

How do you feel after being spiked? ›

Symptoms can include:
  • drowsiness or light-headedness.
  • difficulty speaking.
  • slurring your words.
  • difficulty concentrating.
  • loss of balance.
  • finding it hard to move.
  • visual problems, particularly blurred vision.
  • memory loss or 'blackouts' - when you cannot remember large sections of your evening.

What drug is used in drink spiking? ›

Gamma-hydroxybutyrate and gamma-butyrolactone

Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) usually comes in the form of a slightly oily, colourless liquid. It also comes, less often, as a powder. Gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) is a more basic form of GHB. It is another possible date rape drug.

How long does it take for a spiked drink to kick in? ›

Most date rape drugs take effect within 15-30 minutes and symptoms usually last for several hours.

Why can I taste my eyedrops in my throat? ›

You may get a taste of eye drops in your mouth, or a feeling that the drops are running down your throat. This is normal as the tear duct which drains tears to your nose will also drain some of the eye drop. To prevent this gently press on the tear duct for a minute or so after applying the drop.

Can eye drops drain down your throat? ›

To reduce adverse effects: if you do not close your eye properly after using eye drops, some of the fluid may leak into your nose and throat.

Can you taste eyedrops in your throat? ›

In the end, any tears and eyedrops that aren't completely absorbed by your body can in fact reach your throat! If you notice a taste, the easiest way to prevent it is to try nasolacrimal occlusion.

Can you give a cat Visine? ›

Visine® eye drops

Some cats experience itchy red eyes from allergic disease and other causes. Owners are used to reaching for the Visine for their own eyes, but do not be tempted to apply Visine to your cat's eyes.

What are the active ingredients in Visine? ›

  • Active Ingredients: Tetrahydrozoline HCl 0.05%
  • Inactive Ingredients: Benzalkonium chloride, boric acid, edetate disodium, purified water, sodium borate, sodium chloride.

How long do clear eyes work? ›

It is called Lumify, made by Bausch & Lomb, is over-the-counter, and FDA-approved. Lumify starts working in 60 seconds and lasts up to 8 hours.
Location & Hours.
Monday7:30 - 4:30
5 more rows
5 Nov 2018

Can eye drops go into your mouth? ›

In the end, any tears and eyedrops that aren't completely absorbed by your body can in fact reach your throat! If you notice a taste, the easiest way to prevent it is to try nasolacrimal occlusion.

Can eye drops affect your stomach? ›

Can Antibiotic Eye Drops Cause an Upset Stomach? While not an urban legend, this is a fairly common misconception about antibiotic eye drops side effects. Fortunately, it's not true.

How long does tetrahydrozoline stay in system? ›

Conclusion: When used as directed by the manufacturer for therapeutic ocular administration, tetrahydrozoline concentrations were detectable in both serum and urine up to 12 h after the last administered dose.

Can using Visine everyday hurt you? ›

Using the medication too long or too often may worsen your symptoms and cause damage to the blood vessels in your eyes.

Can eye drops drain down your throat? ›

To reduce adverse effects: if you do not close your eye properly after using eye drops, some of the fluid may leak into your nose and throat.

Do eye drops go into your bloodstream? ›

When you put drops in your eye, the drops can become “pumped” into the tear system if you blink. Once in contact with the vascular nasal mucosa, relatively rapid absorption of drugs into the bloodstream can occur. The drops can act as a systemic “bolus” – an infusion of the drug into the bloodstream.

Can you taste with eyes? ›

The eyes sometimes have it, beating out the tongue, nose and brain in the emotional and biochemical balloting that determines the taste and allure of food, a scientist said at a recent meeting. He described how people sometimes "see" flavors in foods and beverages before actually tasting them.

Can eye drops affect your heart? ›

Among ophthalmologists it is well known that topical ophthalmic medications are capable of producing serious cardiovascular effects, including congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, and death. However, cardiologists may not be aware of these potential complications.

Can eyedrops make you feel sick? ›

Eye redness or irritation. Skin rash (especially in individuals with known allergy to sulfa drugs) Change in taste (especially with carbonated beverages) Stomach upset or nausea.

Can eye drops cause anxiety? ›

The intensity of eye drop treatment was significantly associated with greater anxiety and depression and impacted on psychological status, with those reporting that they became low about the number/frequency of eye drops having significantly higher anxiety and depression scores.

Do eye drops still contain tetrahydrozoline? ›

Tetrahydrozoline is a form of a medicine called imidazoline, which is found in over-the-counter eye drops and nasal sprays.

Can you test for tetrahydrozoline? ›

Unfortunately, toxicology screening using immunoassays and thin layer chromatography does not detect tetrahydrozoline; however, when the screening is performed using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC-MS), tetrahydrozoline is easily detectable.

How much is too much eyedrops? ›

Takeaway. purchase eye drops with preservatives, don't exceed four doses per day. single-use eye drops, throw away the bottle immediately after each use. out for side effects and use good hygiene with your bottle of eye drops.

Can Visine cause high blood pressure? ›

Although most of these side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention. Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur: fast, irregular or pounding heartbeat. high blood pressure.

How often is it safe to use Visine? ›

Use this medication in the affected eye(s) up to 4 times a day as needed or as directed by your doctor. Tilt your head back, look upward, and pull down the lower eyelid to make a pouch. Hold the dropper directly over the eye and place 1 drop into the pouch. Look downward and gently close your eyes for 1 to 2 minutes.

Can a 7 year old use Visine? ›

Age: approved for 3 years and older. Dose: 1 drop every 12 hours in both eyes. For severe allergies, the use of ketotifen eye drops every day will help the most.


1. How Over-the-Counter Eye Drops Can Poison You If Swallowed
(Inside Edition)
2. Visine Red Eye Total Comfort Multi-Symptom Eye Drops
(Dr Hazem Ragab)
3. Mother accused of poisoning young sons with Visine
(WMAR-2 News)
(the world and its people TV)
5. Woman Allegedly Poisons Family with Eye Drops?
(The Doctors)
6. Eye Drop Killer | Murder of Steven Clayton
(Morbidly Captivating)

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