Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Eye Health Center

Font Size

Chemical in the Eye - Topic Overview

Many soaps, shampoos, and perfumes cause some burning in the eye. Flushing these products out of the eye quickly usually prevents any permanent damage or other problems. Other products also contain chemicals that can cause the eyes to burn. Predictably, pepper spray causes a burning sensation in the eyes. But so do car air bags, which contain chemicals that can cause the eyes to burn when the air bag inflates. Chemical particles can also become stuck in the eye.

Acid products—including toilet cleaners, battery acid, bleach, chemicals used in industry for crystal etching, and chemicals that are added to gas—can cause burning in the eye and possibly more severe damage. The damage is usually kept to the area of contact and does not normally cause damage deep in the tissue.

Recommended Related to Eye Health

An Overview of Refractive and Laser Eye Surgery

Vision correction surgery, also called refractive and laser eye surgery, is any surgical procedure used to correct vision problems. In recent years, tremendous advancements have been made in this field. After refractive and laser eye surgery, many patients report seeing better than they had at any other time in their lives. Most types of vision correction surgery work by reshaping the cornea, or clear front part of the eye, so that light traveling through it is properly focused onto the retina...

Read the An Overview of Refractive and Laser Eye Surgery article > >

Alkaline products—including lime products, plaster and mortar, oven and drain cleaners, fertilizers, liquid or powder dishwasher soap, and sparks from "sparklers"—can quickly cause serious damage. Alkaline chemicals are able to penetrate and damage the deeper layers of tissue.

Acid and alkali burns can cause mild to severe problems, depending on the type, strength, and the length of time the chemical is in contact with the body. Immediatelyflush the eye with large amounts of water for 30 minutes. Pull the lower lid away from the eye and flush out this area.

If you are wearing contacts, remove them before flushing your eye. If you are not able to remove the contacts, flush with your contacts in.

Call a poison control center for more information about how to treat the burn. When you call the poison control center, have the chemical container with you, so you can read the content label to the poison control person.

Glue causes problems when it gets into the eye because the treatment for removing it may cause additional damage to the eye. Many water-based glues can be flushed out of the eye with water. Superglue needs special medical attention. Start flushing your eye with water and call your doctor to arrange for your care. An eye specialist (ophthalmologist) may be needed to treat this type of injury. If you are unable to reach your doctor, go to the nearest emergency room to have your eye examined.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 02, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Chemical in the Eye Topics

Today on WebMD

businesswoman wearing fun eyeglasses
Slideshow
Pink Eye Slideshow
Slideshow
 
Woman with itchy watery eyes
Slideshow
grilled salmon and spinach
Video
 

Understanding Stye
Article
human eye
Article
 
eye
Video
eye exam timing
Video
 

vision test
Tool
is vision correction surgery for you
Article
 
high tech contacts
Article
eye drop
Article
 

Special Sections