Be Aware of Chemical Burns to the Eyes: What to do!

Chemical burns or chemical exposure to the eyes account for almost 10% of all eye injuries. Chemical burns are merely described as those burns that can cause damage to the internal or external organs. Chemical burns to the eyes are common and they occur in homes, workplaces, laboratories, or in any other place.

Chemical burns to the eyes are treated as ophthalmic emergencies at the best eye hospital in India because any delay can result in severe damage to the internal parts of the eyes that can cause permanent blindness.

Here is what to do immediately

  • Rash to the bathroom or nearby sinker and wash your eyes thoroughly with clean water.

  • You can also use a shower to let enough water flow into the eyes.

  • Take at least 20 minutes washing your eyes with water afterward go to a nearby eye hospital

What you must know about chemical burns

  • Chemical burns differ in severity depending on the cause of the burn.

  • The more a chemical burn stays in contact with the eye, the more damage it causes

  • Depending on the cause or type of a chemical burn, treatment is provided

  • Chemical burns mostly affect the outer layer of the eye such as the cornea and conjunctiva (white part of the eye).

  • Chemical burns, do penetrate into the eye and can result in glaucoma, uveitis or even cataract

  • Chemical burns can result in total opacification of the cornea, which can cause vision loss, corneal scarring or permanent blindness

Types & common causes of Chemical Burns to the eyes

Alkali Burns

These are severe burns and most dangerous of all the chemical burns. These penetrate the cornea and cause internal injuries to the eyes. Eye experts confirm that the stronger the alkali, the more severe the burn becomes. Examples of alkali include;

  • Ammonia

  • Drain cleaner (Iye)

  • Cement (lime)

  • Oven cleaner


These, however, don’t cause severe damage to the eye, but cause more discomfort and irritation to the eyes. Irritants are substances with a neutral pH and they include pepper spray or detergents.

Acid Burns

These mostly are laboratory acids, battery acids bleaching agents, and glass polish. They are mostly less severe since they don’t penetrate to the cornea, but can cause blindness or vision loss.

Symptoms of Chemical burns to the eyes

  • Redness

  • Pain

  • Irritation

  • Foreign body sensation

  • Blurred vision

  • Severe discomfort

Treatment for Chemical burns

  • Chemical burns to the eyes are taken seriously at our eye hospital in Ludhiana. Once a diagnosis is performed, any particle within the eye is removed with medicated cotton bud after eversion of lids and from the fornices.

  • Treatment also includes eye lavage with copious amounts of above two litres of saline. This is done for over an hour with eyes wide open.

  • Topical anaesthetics are utilized to reduce pain, discomfort, and sensation.

  • Antibiotics to prevent secondary infection, mydriatics, and cycloplegics to relax or rest the eyes are given

  • Systematic analgesics to reduce pain are provided

  • Any longterm treatment required is devised depending on the persisting eye issues and so on.

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