Most substances you get in your eyes that make your eyes
burn will not cause serious eye problems. The only treatment needed for items
such as soaps, shampoos, and perfumes that get in the eyes is to immediately
flush the eyes with water. 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 will not
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 determine the seriousness of an eye burn.
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. If you have burns to your eyelids, see the topic
Eyes that are not protected by a
mask or ultraviolet (UV) filtering sunglasses can be burned by exposure to the
high-intensity light of a welder's equipment (torch or arc) or to bright
sunlight (especially when the sun is reflecting off snow or water). The eyes
also may be injured by other bright lights, such as from tanning booths or
sunlamps. It may take up to 24 hours for the extent of the eye injury to be
Immediately flush the eye with cool water. 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, then open and close your eyelids to
force water to all parts of your eye.
Eye injury to a child
Applying first aid measures for
an eye injury to a child may be difficult depending 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 remain calm and cooperative. A struggling child may need to be
held strongly so that first aid can be started and the seriousness of the eye
Medicine you can buy without a prescription
Try a nonprescription
medicine to help treat your fever or pain:
Aspirin (also a nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drug), such as Bayer or Bufferin
Talk to your child’s doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
Be sure to follow these
safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
Carefully read and follow all directions
on the medicine bottle and box.
The following tips may help prevent burns
to the eye:
safety glasses, goggles, or face shields when working
with power tools or chemicals or when doing any activity that might cause an object
or substance to get into your eyes. If you work with hazardous chemicals that
could splash into your eyes, be aware of the proper procedure for flushing
out chemicals out, and know the location of the nearest shower or sink.
a mask or goggles designed for welding if you are welding or near someone else
who is welding.
ultraviolet (UV) light can be prevented by wearing
sunglasses that block ultraviolet (UV) rays and by wearing broad-brimmed hats.
Be aware that the eye can be injured from glare during boating, sunbathing, and
skiing. Use eye protection while under tanning lamps or when using tanning
booths. Laser pointers have not been shown to cause eye injury.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.