Chemical burns to the eye are very serious and must be treated immediately. Any chemicals or foreign bodies making contact with an eye not only cause short term discomfort but potential long term damage and may even cause irreparable blindness.
It is important to follow these simple steps if a chemical is splashed in your eye.
- Irrigate your eye with water. Do this straight away, the quicker you can dilute or wash out the chemical the less damage will be sustained. Using lukewarm tap water is ideal and irrigation should last for a minimum of 15 minutes.
- The head should be down and turned to the side of the infected eye. This allows the water to flow across the eye and fall away without further damage to the other eye or rest of the body.
- Gently hold the infected eye open to allow the flow of water to rinse the complete area.
- Seek professional medical attention; take as much information as possible. Chemical name, COSSH sheet, time of accident, actions taken.
If running tap water isn’t closely available then Eyewash Stations should be situated in a work place. They should contain a minimum of 1 litre of sterile solution which can be used to irrigate the eye while you move the casualty to clean running water.
Eyewash bottles are available with buffered solution (Cederroth Eyewash) which will help neutralise pH level faster, thus stopping the damage of a chemical.