A chemical splash in the eye occurs when a liquid chemical comes into direct contact with the eyes. From time to time, chemical burns to the eyes may also occur from rubbing the eyes after handling chemicals. Serious complications may arise. Possible injuries may be as minor as redness and irritation, but it may also lead to loss of vision at extreme cases. Sometimes, chemical splashes in the eyes may also lead to poisoning due to heightened absorption of chemicals through the eyes. Needless to say, chemicals splashes in the eye, or any injury to the eye, must be treated immediately.
To avoid chemical splashes in the eye, face shield or safety goggles should be worn at all times when handling chemicals. Avoid touching the eyes before, during or after chemical handling. Keep household chemicals out of reach at all times.
Causes of Chemical Splash in the Eye
Although chemical splashes in the eye are frequently caused by accidents, some of these causes include:
- Working in chemical factories or research laboratories
- Handling household chemicals
- Rubbing the eyes after handling chemicals
Symptoms of Chemical Splash in the Eye
The symptoms of chemical burns usually vary depending on the chemical substance that is directly exposed to the eyes. Some of these symptoms are the following:
- Eye irritation
- Stinging, burning feeling
- Swelling of eyelids
- Eyes tearing up
Complications from Chemical Splash in the Eye
If not treated immediately, complications may arise. The most severe would be complete or total loss of vision in the affected eye, but some of the less severe complications include
- Corneal ulcer – corneal lesion
- Corneal perforation – corneal damage
- Cataracts – irregular clouding of eye’s lens
- Glaucoma – damage to optic nerve
Treatment for Chemical Splash in the Eye
It is absolutely essential to treat chemical splashes in the eye immediately. First aid suggests that these steps be done:
- Flush the affected eye using clean, lukewarm water for at least 20 minutes.
- The head may be turned down, facing the side. Keep the affected eye open under a gentle running stream of water.
- Get into the shower aim the affected eye under the gently running water.
- For young children, it may be best to lie them down while gently flushing the effected eye.
- Thoroughly wash both hands with water and soap to remove any trace of the chemical from the hands.
- If one is wearing contact lenses, remove them immediately.
- Avoid rubbing the eyes at all times to not exacerbate the injury.
- Do not use eye drops unless prescribed by the doctor.
- Seek medical advice and remember the chemical name.
Chemical splash in the eye may develop into a long term disease if first aid is not
given immediately. First aid training includes topics on various types of eye injuries. The eyes are very important sense organs. Chemical splash in the eyes may be avoided by following proper safety precautions.