How the Chemical in Eye Drops Attacks Your Body If Swallowed and Can Potentially Kill You

Playing How Over-the-Counter Eye Drops Can Poison You If Swallowed

A woman is accused of poisoning her husband with over-the-counter eye drops, which led to his death, according to cops. 

Police said Lana Clayton poisoned her 64-year-old husband, Stephen, with eye drops. 

Stephen Clayton, a millionaire businessman, lived with his wife in a South Carolina mansion that is a replica of George Washington's Mount Vernon plantation. He was found dead in the home on July 21. His wife claimed he had succumbed to a fatal fall. 

But now, court documents say the 52-year-old mother of two confessed to administering the poison to him in his water over a three-day period. 

The chemical in eye drops, tetrahydrozoline, works great on the eyes, but if swallowed in significant quantities, it can attack the nervous system and be deadly.

In the 2005 comedy "Wedding Crashers," Owen Wilson's character puts a few eye drops in the drink of love rival Sack Lodge, played by Bradley Cooper. But in real life, the prank is no laughing matter. 

Ginger Watson knows what it is like to be poisoned by eye drops. She was a manager at Pizza Hut in 2011, when a disgruntled co-worker spiked her soda with eye drops. She was hospitalized with a multitude of symptoms, but fortunately survived. 

"Chills, sweats, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. I felt awful,” she told Inside Edition. “If I had an underlying medical condition or if I had gotten a little more of the drug I could have been seriously injured or died.”

Clayton's family released a statement on the allegations against his wife. 

They said they are "shocked and mortified by the cause of Steven's death ... All our family and friends know how much he loved his wife and how devoted he was to her."

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