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Eye Injury: First Aid for Chemical Burns

Topic Overview

  • Immediately flush the eye with cool water. Quickly diluting the chemical reduces the chance of serious eye damage. 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. You can also flush your eye gently under a running faucet, kitchen sink sprayer, or shower. You may need to open and close your eyelids with your fingers. Move your eye in all directions during the flushing so that all areas of your eye are rinsed. This is the first thing a doctor would do.
  • Call a poison control center for more information about how to treat the burn. When you call the poison control center, have the chemical container with you, so you can read the content label to the poison control person.
  • Keep flushing the eye for 30 minutes or until it stops hurting, whichever takes longer. When flushing, pull the lower and upper eyelid forward to make sure any solid or liquid chemical caught in these areas is rinsed away. If severe pain continues after flushing, call 911 or other emergency services and continue flushing the eye to rinse away the chemical.
  • After flushing the eye, wear dark glasses. Do not bandage or put any pressure on the eye. Keeping the eye closed may help reduce pain.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: June 26, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine


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