Think about the last time you were in the dentist’s chair, whether it was getting a cavity filled or your teeth whitened. Did your dentist give you protective eyewear?
For Jenn Morrone, a New Jersey mom, the answer was “no,” and due to that oversight, she lost half her vision. When Morrone was getting a standard root canal, her dentist dropped a needle he was using for a Novocaine injection into her eye. As a result, bacteria from her mouth that was present on the needle caused a serious infection and even multiple surgeries could not save her vision.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), eye protection is recommended for all dental procedures because bacteria and viruses from the mouth can cause severe infections in the eye. And something as simple as routine splashing during teeth cleanings can transfer the bacteria to the eye. The CDC cautions that contact lenses or prescription glasses do not constitute as protective eyewear.
“This was 100 percent preventable, what happened to me,” Morrone tells CBS Philly. “If eye protection was worn, we wouldn’t be here and I would still have my vision and my life would be a lot different.”
Morrone adds that she didn’t know her dentist was violating professional recommendations. “I really trusted my dentist,” she said. “I did not know eye protection was so important.”
“Although accidents are rare, it is important that dental patients be aware that their eyes do need protection from not only local anesthetic, but also dental techniques and materials,” says Atlanta cosmetic dentist Ronald Goldstein, DDS. “Although dentists should be supplying eye-protective glasses, I recommend patients ask for protective glasses in case the dental assistant or dentist forgets to apply them, especially because patients are almost always in a reclining position where they are more vulnerable. Bottom line: This was a freak accident that could have been prevented if the patient was wearing protective lenses.”
Morrone is now making it her mission to spread awareness. “I want you to tell friends, tell your family, anyone who goes to the dentist, which is pretty much everybody, when you go, you have to wear eye protection,” she said.
Morrone did come to a legal settlement with her dentist, but says, “No amount of money in the world would ever get my eye back, would ever get my vision back. It would never make me the person I used to be.”
See her story in her own words in the video below: