Examining Chemical Eye Burns: Variants, Symptoms, and Remedies

Chemical eye burns are quite common incidences in industries. This is not entirely out of place as industries house a variety of chemicals – not all of which is good for the eyes. Also, aside from the industrial scenario, chemical eye injuries can still occur at home, even from our regular cleaning products as we expedite our normal chores.

Basically, chemical eye burns can be classified into acid burns, alkali burns and lastly irritants. Of all these burns, alkali burns rank as the most hazardous to our eyes. Delicate eye organs like the cornea, the lens can be greatly damaged by the penetration of highly alkaline substances with high a pH content. Some of these alkali substances referred to here include potassium hydroxide, magnesium, lye or even home products like fertilizers, oven cleaners, and ammonia.

Moving over to acid eye burns, such burns to our eyes result from the incursion of acidic substances with low pH content. On the measure of severity, acid burns are less dangerous to the eyes than alkali burns. This stems from the fact that they don’t have the penetrative capacity of alkali substances. Most times acid burns are restricted to the surface of the eyes. The exception in this case happens to be hydrofluoric acid burn which, despite being an acid burn, is a close colleague of alkali burns in severity.

However, serious acid burns can trigger significant distortion to vision even culminating in blindness. The common variants of acid with the potency of causing eye burns include sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrofluoric acid, acetic acid amidst others.  Some substances at home place us at susceptibility to acid burns. These substances include vinegar and glass polish. One of the most popular cases of acidic eye burns is the event of an automobile battery explosion.

The third category are chemical eye burns, which have a distasteful notoriety for causing more discomfort than real damage to the eyes. Most detergents we use at home are guilty of falling under irritants in this regard. Another infamous irritant is pepper spray, which doesn’t significantly damage the eye as it affects your comfort only.

Some of the quickest ways to tell you are experiencing chemical eye burns include redness of the eye, a painful sensation in your eyes and even swelling of your eyelids.

You may also experience irritation and in more serious cases, you might notice tearing and blurriness of vision. So, are there any quick home remedies for chemical eye burns? Yes, there are quite a few.

In the incidence of a chemical eye burn, it is necessary to flush the eye notably. In more common cases where there are no specialized eye irrigation solutions, you can quickly resign to washing your eyes with your normal tap water. Such washing of eyes should take a sustainable period say ten minutes. This is to ensure that as much of the invading chemical is well washed out.

Naturally the longer the chemical resides in your eyes, the more harm it can wreak. In a work setting, try washing your eyes in the event of chemical eye burns with an isotonic saline solution, preferably a sterile solution. In the absence of this, you can use cold tap water. Most preferably, ensure to visit your doctor when you notice the symptoms of chemical eye burns continue.

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