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First Aid & Emergencies

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Eye Burns/Corneal Burns Treatment

Call 911 if:

  • Eyeball looks cloudy
  • The person notices a sudden change in vision

  • Eyeball looks cloudy
  • The person notices a sudden change in vision

For Heat Burns to the Eye:

1. Flush Eyes

  • Fill a sink or dishpan with cool water.
  • Have the person put his/her face in water.
  • The person should open and close eyes to get water to all parts of eye.

If a serious chemical injury to the eye(s) is suspected, continue flushing out the eye with water until an ambulance arrives or the injured person arrives in the emergency room. Alkali substances such as drain cleaners are particularly harmful to the eye. Optimal flushing would include putting the person in a shower with the water aimed at the face with someone helping to keep the eyes open. If a shower is not available, then splashing running water from a sink is second best. If the accident happened at a worksite, it is more important to flush out the eye(s) for at least 20-30 minutes than to transport the person to the hospital immediately.

2. When to See a Doctor

Call a doctor if the person has:

  • Decreased, double, or blurred vision that doesn't clear with blinking
  • Eye pain
  • Discomfort when looking at light
  • The feeling that something like sand is in eye
  • Redness, swelling, twitching, tears, or discharge
  • Any symptom lasting more than 24 hours
  • Symptoms that happen more often or get worse

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Alan Kozarsky, MD on December 24, 2013

First Aid A-Z

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