A patient got a sliver of glass in his eye when a glass container at work fell and shattered. The glass had to be surgically removed and the patient is about to be discharged home. The patient asks the nurse for a topical anesthetic for the pain in his eye. What should the nurse respond?

Answer Explanation: Most patients are not allowed to take topical anesthetics home because of the risk of overuse. Patients with corneal abrasions and erosions experience severe pain and are often tempted to overuse topical anesthetic eye drops. Overuse of these drops results in softening of the cornea. Prolonged use of anesthetic drops can delay wound healing and can lead to permanent corneal opacification and scarring, resulting in visual loss. The nurse must explain the rationale for limiting the home use of these medications.

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