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Eye First Aid: Common Situations

Eye First Aid: Common Situations

Seconds count when someone has an eye injury, whether they’ve been splashed with rubbing alcohol, or a splinter of wood found its way into the eye, the longer the contaminant is left untreated, the more chance it has of spreading, burning, or scratching the delicate eye membrane.

We cover the basics of how to give first aid for eye injuries in our blog, broken down into these fundamental areas:


  • Chemical burns
  • Foreign objects in the eye
  • Eye wounds

In this article, we’ll cover quick-fire advice for specific eye injury queries. 


Contents


  • Flash Burns and Heat Eye Injuries

      • Welding Eye Injury First Aid
      • Scald Injury of Eyes: First Aid
      • Oil in Eye First Aid

  • Chemical Eye Injury First Aid

      • Acid in The Eye First Aid
      • Lime in Eye First Aid
      • Alcohol in Eyes First Aid
      • Paint in Eyes First Aid
      • First Aid for Battery Acid in Eyes
      • Hydraulic Fluid in Eyes First Aid
      • Glow Stick in Eye First Aid
      • Petrol in Eyes First Aid
      • Hair Dye in Eye First Aid
      • First Aid for Hydrogen Peroxide in Eye
      • Dish Soap in Eye First Aid

  • First Aid for a Foreign Body in the Eye

      • Penetrating Eye Injury First Aid
      • Foreign Object in Eye First Aid
      • Chilli in Eye First Aid
      • Black Pepper in Eye First Aid
      • Glass in Eye First Aid
    • Treating Eye Injuries and Wounds

    • Eye Injury Treatment First Aid
    • First Aid for Eye Pain
    • Eye Hematoma First Aid
    • First Aid for Scratched Eye
    • First Aid for Eye Irritation


    In this article, we’ll cover quick-fire advice for specific eye injury queries. 


    Contents


    • Flash Burns and Heat Eye Injuries

        • Welding Eye Injury First Aid
        • Scald Injury of Eyes: First Aid
        • Oil in Eye First Aid

    • Chemical Eye Injury First Aid

        • Acid in The Eye First Aid
        • Lime in Eye First Aid
        • Alcohol in Eyes First Aid
        • Paint in Eyes First Aid
        • First Aid for Battery Acid in Eyes
        • Hydraulic Fluid in Eyes First Aid
        • Glow Stick in Eye First Aid
        • Petrol in Eyes First Aid
        • Hair Dye in Eye First Aid
        • First Aid for Hydrogen Peroxide in Eye
        • Dish Soap in Eye First Aid

    • First Aid for a Foreign Body in the Eye

        • Penetrating Eye Injury First Aid
        • Foreign Object in Eye First Aid
        • Chilli in Eye First Aid
        • Black Pepper in Eye First Aid
        • Glass in Eye First Aid
      • Treating Eye Injuries and Wounds

      • Eye Injury Treatment First Aid
      • First Aid for Eye Pain
      • Eye Hematoma First Aid
      • First Aid for Scratched Eye
      • First Aid for Eye Irritation


      In this article, we’ll cover quick-fire advice for specific eye injury queries. 


      Contents


      • Flash Burns and Heat Eye Injuries

          • Welding Eye Injury First Aid
          • Scald Injury of Eyes: First Aid
          • Oil in Eye First Aid

      • Chemical Eye Injury First Aid

          • Acid in The Eye First Aid
          • Lime in Eye First Aid
          • Alcohol in Eyes First Aid
          • Paint in Eyes First Aid
          • First Aid for Battery Acid in Eyes
          • Hydraulic Fluid in Eyes First Aid
          • Glow Stick in Eye First Aid
          • Petrol in Eyes First Aid
          • Hair Dye in Eye First Aid
          • First Aid for Hydrogen Peroxide in Eye
          • Dish Soap in Eye First Aid

      • First Aid for a Foreign Body in the Eye

          • Penetrating Eye Injury First Aid
          • Foreign Object in Eye First Aid
          • Chilli in Eye First Aid
          • Black Pepper in Eye First Aid
          • Glass in Eye First Aid
        • Treating Eye Injuries and Wounds

        • Eye Injury Treatment First Aid
        • First Aid for Eye Pain
        • Eye Hematoma First Aid
        • First Aid for Scratched Eye
        • First Aid for Eye Irritation


        Chef in steamy kitchen

        Flash Burns and Heat: Eye First Aid

        Welding Eye Injury First Aid


        Flash burn is the most common eye injury associated with welding. Flash burn is like having sunburn on the corneas of your eyes. It can be painful and can even result in loss of sight. 


        First aid for eye irritation due to welding should involve thorough eye washing at an eyewash station. Do not rub the eyes and refrain from wearing contact lenses until healed. Follow up with a visit to your optician.


        The symptoms of flash burns will begin to appear 3–12 hours following exposure and healing may be painful. Dark glasses can be used to lessen discomfort.

        Scald Injury of The Eyes: First Aid

        A burn or scald can occur through exposure to a naked flame, hot liquid, or even steam. Call 999 as soon as you can or have someone else call for you. Hold the eye open and wash for 15 minutes minimum at an eyewash station. Place an eye pad over the injured eye until you can be seen by a doctor.

        Find out how to perform an eyewash in our blog as well as what to use when performing an eyewash.

        Oil in Eye First Aid

        Hot oil can cause severe burns when it splashes the body. If you splash your eye with oil, make your way to the nearest eyewash station and flush the eye for 30 minutes or until the discomfort resolves. 


        Make a judgement on the severity of the injury. A minor burn with oil can be resolved after a thorough eyewash and you might want to use artificial tears for the next few days to ease discomfort. If your eyes have been more severely burned and if the pain does not subside after the eyewash, seek medical assistance.

        In a chemical laboratory eye injury

        Chemical Eye Injury: First Aid

        Acid in The Eye First Aid

        Different types of acid will affect the eye differently but all acid contaminations should be followed quickly by a thorough eye washing. You may need to rinse the eye for a different length of time depending on the nature of the acid. Mild irritants like acetic acid require an eye rinse of 10–20 minutes while more corrosive acids like sulphuric acid require rinsing of 30 minutes minimum.


        Check the label on the acid in question for directions on the length of time to rinse the eye, and any other actions you should take. Refer to our blog post on How to Wash Eyes at an Eyewash Station for eyewash durations depending on the contaminant. 


        Dress the eye using a sterile eye pad or non-fluffy dressing if the burn is mild. For more severe burns, continue to flush the eye until medical personnel can treat it. If you can, bring the product packaging or label with you. 

        Eye Injury eye pad

        Lime in Eye First Aid

        Lime, quicklime, or whitewash can cause severe burns to the eye. The severity of a lime burn depends on how long the eye is left unrinsed and untreated.


        If contaminated with lime, rinse the eye with sterile eyewash immediately, ensuring to pull back the upper and lower lid and turning the eye around to rinse out as much lime powder as possible. Do not rub the eye. Seek immediate medical assistance.

        Alcohol in Eyes First Aid

        Alcohol can burn the epithelial layer (the outermost layer) of the cornea off, opening the eye up to potential infection. Hand sanitiser, rubbing alcohol, or perfume in the eyes can present a risk to the epithelial layer. While alcohol can damage the surface of the eye it’s unlikely to lead to sight loss. 


        The faster you can dilute and wash out the alcohol the less discomfort and healing time the affected person will experience. When the eye is contaminated with alcohol, perform an eyewash with sterile water or saline solution for 20 minutes. If the irritation does not begin to subside after two hours, call your doctor and follow their guidance.

        Paint in Eyes First Aid

        Many paints are not harmful although they may cause irritation to the eye. Some paints contain chemicals that might damage the eye if not dealt with promptly. Read the packaging of the paint for any instructions on what to do and retain the ingredient list in case you need to see a doctor. 


        Carry out an eyewash using sterile water or saline solution for 10 or 20 minutes, or until all paint has been rinsed from the eye. If the irritation does not diminish in two hours contact your doctor for advice.

        First Aid for Battery Acid in Eyes

        Battery acid is highly corrosive and can severely damage the eyes if contact is made. For first aid treatment for battery acid in the eyes, head immediately to an eyewash station and flush the eyes for a minimum of 30 minutes continuously. Remove contacts during the flushing if possible.


        Call 999 or ask a team member to do so as soon as possible, preferably before beginning the eyewash if someone else can call while the eyewash is performed.

        Hydraulic Fluid in Eyes First Aid

        Hydraulic fluid or brake fluid in the eyes can be resolved with a gentle eye wash using sterile water or sterile saline eyewash solution. Rinse the eyes for 15 minutes at least, ensuring the solution washes over the entirety of the eye by turning it and blinking the eyelid. 


        Hydraulic fluids commonly consist of water, silicone, petroleum oil, and synthetic hydrocarbons, the oily ingredients in hydraulic fluids mean they can leave a residue on the eye causing vision to be temporarily blurry but this should subside as the eye’s natural tear production continues to wash the hydraulic fluid out.

        Glow Stick in Eye First Aid

        The substance in a glow stick is dibutyl phthalate, an oily, colourless liquid. It can cause irritation if it comes into contact with the eyes or skin. 


        If the eye is contaminated with glow stick fluid, wash the eye with sterile water or saline solution for a minimum of 15 minutes, removing contact lenses if possible. If irritation persists or worsens after two days contact your doctor.

        Petrol in Eyes First Aid

        Exposure to petrol can cause inflammation, irritation, burns, eye pain, discharge or pus, and even loss of sight. 


        The eye should be rinsed immediately at an eyewash station. Hold the eye open and turn the eye up, down, and side-to-side to thoroughly rinse its surface. Continue the eyewash for 15 minutes minimum.

        Hair Dye in Eye First Aid

        Hair Dye can cause irritation to the delicate eye membrane and surrounding skin. Rinse the eyes at an eyewash station for 15 minutes minimum. If you are at home, getting in the shower and submerging your face in the stream is an effective way to rinse the eyes. Make sure the water is not too hot and be careful not to rinse more hair dye into your eyes and face. 


        Sometimes vaseline is caught up in a hair dye contamination as both are used together regularly in salons. If this is the case you could gently swab the eye area with a clean eye pad or gauze swab from a first aid kit to remove the oily residue. Do not wipe the cornea directly. 


        If the irritation persists or gets worse in the two hours following the eyewash consult a GP.

        First Aid for Hydrogen Peroxide in Eyes

        Hydrogen peroxide is found in very small quantities (3%) in some contact lens solutions. But as a rule hydrogen peroxide or common chemicals like bleach in eyes can cause irritation and damage to the corneas if left untreated. It shouldn’t be put directly into the eyes. 


        Irrigate the contaminated eye immediately for 20 minutes with sterile water or saline solution and schedule a check-up with the GP to assess whether any further treatment is needed.

        Dish Soap in Eye First Aid

        Dish soap can be irritating and uncomfortable if it gets into your eye but it likely won’t cause any damage. Carry out a gentle eyewash for 10 or 15 minutes.

        Looking in mirror at eye injury

        First Aid for a Foreign Body in the Eye

        Penetrating Eye Injury First Aid

        A penetrating eye injury should be dealt with carefully. Moving an embedded object in the eye can make an injury worse, push bacteria into a wound, and cause blood loss.


        Do not attempt to remove an object embedded in an eye. Instead, call 999 immediately and cushion the eye with thick sterile pads above and below the object, taking care not to apply pressure to the object or the eyelid. You could also cover the object with a paper cup.

        Foreign Object in Eye First Aid

        Foreign body in eye first aid should focus on trying to remove the object without causing the eye too much trauma, If it is too difficult to remove a foreign object wait for medical assistance.


        Assistance from someone else can be helpful to locate the foreign object. If your eyewash station has a mirror, like our wall-mounted eyewash plate, use this to help you locate and remove the object.

        Use a bottle of sterile saline solution to wash away the foreign body in the eye. Squirt the eyewash solution over the eye from the inner corner to the outer and ensure the other eye does not become contaminated.

        Read our blog post oneye injury first aid for a step by step guide to object in eye first aid.

        Chilli in Eye First Aid

        Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chilli that gives you a burning sensation when eating it. When it comes into contact with the delicate eye the pain can be very severe. 


        To reduce the discomfort of chilli in the eye, first aid should involve a gentle eye wash using clean water or saline solution. Make your way to the eyewash station and rinse the eye until the discomfort subsides.

        First Aid for Dust in Eye

        For dust in the eye, first aid might not even be necessary. The eye will produce tears naturally when dust enters the eye in order to clean it. 


        If further assistance is needed you could wash the eye gently using an eyewash until the dust has been removed.

        Black Pepper in Eye First Aid

        Black pepper, while uncomfortable shouldn’t damage the eye but flakes of cracked black pepper could scratch the eye surface.


        A thorough, gentle eyewash should be carried out as quickly as possible using sterile water or saline solution. Hold the eye open and move the eye to ensure the underneath of the eyelid has been rinsed. 

        Glass in Eye First Aid

        Glass in an eye should be treated with caution. Sharp fragments such as glass can easily cut the eye or become embedded, opening the eye to infection risk. Fragments thrown into the eye at high speed can also increase the chance of a cut or scratch. 


        Flush the eye thoroughly with eyewash solution or sterile water. Ensure the solution flows over the whole eye from the inner corner to the outer and turn the eye around to ensure good coverage. Do not rub the eye. 


        If it is too difficult to remove the glass from the eye, keep the eye still and seek medical assistance. Do not persist in removing the glass as this could injure the area further.

        Someone applying an eye dressing to someone else

        Treating Eye Injuries and Wounds

        Eye Injury Treatment First Aid

        Eye trauma first aid should be approached with caution, trying to remove objects from the eye or even trying to clean it too forcefully can make an injury worse. The eyes should not be rubbed and only the area around them touched carefully when examining or performing an eyewash. 


        Eye pads, eye bandages or eye coverings can be used to dress an eye injury before it can be seen by a medical professional. Ask the casualty to close their eyes and position the eye pad over the injured eye. It can be taped in place, or the casualty can gently hold it in place using their cupped hand until they can be examined.


        Sterile eye pads come as part of our wall-mounted eyewash station and our eyecare kits, both ideal for installing on business premises to help deal with eye emergencies.

        First Aid for Eye Pain

        Eye pain can be caused by many different situations. Examine the eye for injury or irritation. If it feels as though something has contaminated the eye carry out an eyewash. 


        The pain could also be caused by bruising or swelling from an injury. A clean cold compress and over the counter pain killers can ease this pain. 


        If the pain persists or gets worse, if your vision is affected, or if your eyes swell, seek medical assistance for advice on whether examination or treatment is needed. 

        Eye Hematoma First Aid

        First aid for black eyes or hematomas should focus on reducing swelling and bruising caused by impact. If you can, inspect the eye first to make sure no foreign objects entered the eye and that it hasn’t suffered any cuts or scratches.


        Icing a black eye brings down uncomfortable swelling and minimises tissue damage, but be sure to never apply ice directly to the skin. Use an ice pack or a cold compress and apply gentle pressure to the eye. Hold the compress against the area for 20–30 minutes at a time and repeat regularly throughout the first two days after the injury.


        After the first two days use a warm cloth around the eye throughout the day. Use over the counter painkillers to soothe any pain.

        First Aid for Scratched Eye

        A scratch to the eye, otherwise known as a corneal abrasion, can heal on it’s own if it is small. If the foreign object that caused the scratch is still in the eye try to remove it by rinsing the eye or carefully removing it with a clean finger. Perform an eyewash with sterile water or sterile saline solution to ensure the risk of infection is minimised. 


        Arrange to see your GP for a check-up to see if you need any additional treatment. Scratches to the eye pose a risk of infection be watchful for any symptoms such as reddening or swelling of the area or pain and discomfort that doesn’t go away or start to get better.

        First Aid for Eye Irritation

        Eye First Aid for irritation depends on the cause of the problem. From allergies to chemical vapours, there is a range of situations that can cause eye irritation. Try to think about what might have caused eye irritation and handle it accordingly. If you suspect a product caused it, consult the packaging for instructions on what to do if it gets into your eye.


        Carrying out an eyewash is a good idea to ensure the eye is cleaned of possible contaminants. If the irritation does not go away or gets worse after 2 hours, seek medical advice.

        Eye First Aid for Businesses

        The best way to protect the eyes of your workforce is through personal protective equipment, first aid supplies, and training. Find out everything you need to know about eye care as a business to be compliant with health and safety laws in our blog:



        Our comprehensive guides also help businesses in how to use an eyewash station and carry out an eyewash.


        Please enter your details into the form below along with any questions or comments and a member of our team will be happy to provide you with more information:

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