Chemical Exposures to the Eye

December 15, 2022

Dr. Jerry Williams of Urgent Care 24/7 discusses chemical exposures to the eye.

Now, it obviously depends on what the chemical is, as to how caustic the chemical is and what damage it can do to the eye. We're going to speak very generically and talk about what you need to do.

First thing you need to do is if you have a chemical exposure to the eye, you need to immediately start flushing it with high volumes of water immediately. So if you're watching this video, and you've got a chemical exposure, go get your eye under the faucet and flush with high volumes of water immediately and need to flush it for at least 20 minutes and that means non stop. That's a very long time to keep your eye underneath the tap. You want to have warm water not too forceful, but you need to have high volumes of water and need to hold your eye open and allow the water to just flow freely and irrigate and wash that area.

So if you have an exposure and you're watching this video, stop right now and go start flushing with high volumes of water for at least 20 minutes, and you need to go seek medical attention immediately if you've had a chemical exposure. Now we can talk a little bit now, if someone's wanting to learn about chemical exposures, wants to make sure that anyone who is watching this video with a potential exposure goes in and starts immediate irrigation of the eye or eyes.

Let's talk a little bit about the different kinds of exposure. First of all, any kind of very basic, such as Lye, or very acidic, such as battery acid. Any kind of exposure like that, from a chemical standpoint, can be very, very damaging to the eye and that's why the irrigation component is so important to be done as quickly as possible in extremely high volumes, and then seeking medical attention immediately and getting evaluated by an ophthalmologist but first go to your nearest urgent care center or emergency room where they will continue to irrigate out your eye and get you in the hands of a capable eye specialist or ophthalmologist. There are many many other chemicals that can be problematic. Actually one of the more difficult patients Dr. Williams ever had to treat with a chemical exposure was actually applying superglue to a curtain rod overhead and the superglue dripped into her eye. It was very, very problematic.

So if you've gotten any kind of a chemical exposure to your eye, make sure you flush it copiously and immediately with water, and then seek medical attention immediately for careful examination and further irrigation. It's impossible the breeding and referral to an eye specialist because we don't want to have your vision and the health of your eyes permanently affected.

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