What is eye burns?

Eye Burns
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Burns to the eye: Overview

Most substances that you get in your eyes and that make your eyes burn won't cause serious eye problems. The only treatment needed for items such as soaps, shampoos, and perfumes that get in the eyes is to flush the eyes with water right away. After flushing, the eyes may be slightly painful and irritated. But these symptoms should go away quickly.

Chemical burns can happen if a solid or liquid chemical or chemical fumes get into the eye. Many substances won't cause damage if they are flushed out of the eye quickly. Acids (such as bleach or battery acid) and alkali substances (such as oven cleansers or fertilizers) can damage the eye. It may take 24 hours after the burn occurs to tell how serious an eye burn may be. Chemical fumes and vapors can also irritate the eyes.

Burns to the eyelid or eye can cause eye problems. Blasts of hot air or steam can burn the face and eyes. Bursts of flames or flash fires from stoves or explosives can also burn the face and eyes.

Eyes that aren't protected by a mask or ultraviolet (UV) filtering sunglasses can be burned if they're exposed to the high-intensity light of a welder's equipment (torch or arc) or to bright sunlight. (This is most likely when the sun reflects off snow or water). The eyes also may be injured by other bright lights, such as from tanning booths or sunlamps. Exposure to high-intensity light may cause temporary blindness. It may take up to 24 hours to know how bad the eye injury is.

After a burn injury to the eye, it's important to watch for signs of an eye infection. Signs include pain in the eye and blurred or decreased vision.

How can you care for yourself when you have a burn to the eye?

Home treatment may relieve your eye symptoms.

Immediately flush the eye with cool water. If you wear contacts, be sure to remove them. This is the first step in first aid for a chemical burn or first aid for a heat burn to the eye. Fill a sink or dishpan with water. Put your face in the water, and then open and close your eyelids to force water to all parts of your eye. For a chemical burn, call a poison control center to learn more about how to treat the burn.

Eye injuries in children

Using first aid for a child's eye injury may be hard. It depends on the child's age, size, and ability to cooperate. Having another adult help you treat the child is helpful. Stay calm, and talk in a soothing voice. Use slow, gentle movements to help the child stay calm and cooperative. A struggling child may need to be held strongly so that first aid can be started and so that you can assess how serious the eye injury is.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.

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