poison causing blindness

I was in my garage and a label caught my eye. It said that swallowing that liquid will cause blindness. How exactly will this liquid, if swallowed, cause the person to go blind? What physiological reaction will occur to cause blindness?

Sometimes life is so great you just gotta muss up your hair and quack like a duck!

I don’t know the chemistry involved, but the liquid probably contains methanol (also called wood alcohol). Methanol, when ingested, will indeed cause blindness.
IIRC, above a certain level of exposure, the blindness is irreversable.
I believe this also may be the origin of the phrase “blind drunk”.

can’t some ticks make you go blind? like with lime disease and all?

From the Holy EB:

So the answer to the question is ‘atrophy of the optic nerve’, right?

Ray (I see – but not much in one eye; but it wasn’t a result of methanol.)

It can be reversed by drining regular (drinking) alcohol. It’s true I swear. I have three frieds (actually my aunts friends). They went to a party were the punch was spiked with rubbing alcohol. After the party 1 guy went home the other 2 went to a bar. The one that went home woke up blind the other two were just fine.

Formerly known as Nec3f on the AOL SDMB

Actually, Joey P is correct. IIRC, the down-and-dirty emergency treatment for the consumption of methanol (and ethylene glycol) is to give the patient regular booze as quickly as possible. The idea is that the “good” booze displaces the bad stuff. (Exception to Gresham’s Law!) But you have to do this ASAP because you’re trying to get rid of the methanol BEFORE it does too much damage.

“If alcohol (ethanol) is taken at the same time as methanol, then the toxic effects are delayed since ethanol can prevent breakdown to formaldehyde and formic acid. In fact, ethanol is given as part of the treatment of methanol poisoning.”