That Time I Put Vodka in my Eye

by Nancy Bestor

I’d like to think I’m an organized person. I make lists of what I need to do, and then cross items off when they are completed. I file my bills to be paid in a specific location, and bills that have been paid get filed away as well. And all my travel necessities have special storage locations. Carry-on sized toiletries stay in my toiletries bag, while passports and money belts, foreign currency, and the like, sit in a box waiting for my next trip.

So when I ran out of contact lens solution recently, because of my superior organization skills, I knew that I had more in a 3-ounce Nalgene bottle in my toiletry kit, underneath my bathroom sink. I have two different kinds of contact solution. One is for storing of contacts, and cannot be put directly into your eyes. The other solution is the more traditional kind, that you can rinse contacts with. So, being the organized person that I am (or apparently that I think I am), at some point I marked the top of the Nalgene bottle with the storing solution in red nail polish. This was my “WARNING: DO NOT PUT DIRECTLY INTO YOUR EYES” idea.

Thus, when grabbing the extra solution out of my toiletry kit, I chose the bottle that was not marked with red nail polish. So far so good right? I may have even given myself a pat on the back for my amazing organization skills. What I failed to remember, however, was that when returning from a trip to Mexico with my girlfriends, I stored leftover vodka in a TSA approved 3-ounce Nalgene bottle. And when I got home, I forgot all about it, and just left this bottle in my toiletry kit along with the contact solution bottles. And yes, I used that mandarin flavored Absolut vodka to rinse my contact lenses, and then put one lens right on my eyeball.

Needless to say, I do not recommend putting vodka in your eyes. It burned like holy h***. I’m pretty sure I screamed, and then stuck my face under cold running water for a good long minute or two. I couldn’t put my contacts in for two days, and had to go old school with glasses. I know, first world problems, right? 

I’ve learned my lesson. Now, I’ve got 3-ounce Nalgene bottles marked with red nail polish for the storing solution, and 3-ounce Nalgene bottles marked with green nail polish for the contact rinsing solution. So when I travel with my girlfriends again, and bring more Vodka home in plain Nalgene bottles, I’ll know that’s for drinking.