For all chemical injuries, the first thing you should do is immediately irrigate
the eye copiously. Ideally, specific eye irrigating solutions should be used for
this, but if none are available regular tap water will do just fine.
The next best step if possible is to find out what type of chemical you have
been exposed to. You can look on the product label or call your regional Poison
Control Center to find out more information about a specific chemical.
If the chemical is an irritant (with a neutral pH) and symptoms are only minor
or nonexistent, then you may monitor your condition at home with a call to your
ophthalmologist (a medical doctor who specializes in eye care and surgery). Make
sure the burn does not worsen. If it does, call your ophthalmologist to arrange
an appointment for that day or go to the Emergency Room if an Ophthalmologist is
If you have any question about the danger of a chemical, if you do not know what
it is, or if you have significant symptoms, go immediately to the nearest
hospital's emergency department.
Any time you experience pain, tearing, redness, irritation, or vision loss, go
to a hospital's emergency department for immediate evaluation, even if you
believe the chemical is only a mild irritant.
All acid or alkali eye burns require immediate treatment and evaluation by a
doctor. You should be taken immediately to the closest emergency department. If
you suspect a serious injury may have occurred or are otherwise not able to make
the trip to the emergency room quickly, then you should call an ambulance to
shorten transport time. All industries are required to keep a Materials Safety
Data Sheet (MSDS) on any chemicals being used. Find this information and take it
If you are treated for a chemical burn to the eye in a hospital's emergency
department, you should see an ophthalmologist within 24 hours. The
ophthalmologist determines your continuing care.
Safety officials estimate that up to 90% of chemical eye injuries can be
Always wear safety glasses when working with hazardous materials, both at work
and at home.
Children sustain chemical burn most often when they are unsupervised. Keep all
hazardous home products away from children.
Recovery depends on the type and extent of injury.
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