First Aid

Eye Burns: First Aid

Thermal burns

The eyes, normally, are protected by the eyelids. The following are some of the objects that may cause thermal burns in the eyes: soldering irons, curling irons, the heads of matches, and stove. Depending on the severity, thermal burns could be categorized under four degrees.

  • First degree burn: It just causes reddening of skin.
  • Second degree burn: It blisters skin.
  • Third degree burn: Causes tissue necrosis, a premature death of cells.
  • Fourth degree burn: Causes a very deep skin necrosis.

First aid:

The burned surface should be cooled using cold water. This would help to stop the effect of temperature and reduce the pain as well. Wash the affected area with cold water for about ten to fifteen minutes and when the situation ameliorates, obtain medical help.

Chemical burns

By far, most of the common chemical burns are considered to be dangerous. Care must be taken when treating chemical burns in the eye. If not then the victim might end up losing his/ her eye sight. The following are three types of products that could cause chemical burns:

  • Petroleum products:

    Gasoline, turpentine, benzyne, aromatic products.

  • Acids:

    Peroxide that is used to sterilize contact lenses, the car battery acid, vinegar, acids containing heavy metals.

  • Alkalis:

    Ammonia-based products (cleaners), lime, plaster, mortar, products containing chlorine (swimming pool)

First aid

Care must be provided within seconds of the accident to obtain maximum efficiency.

The background of the accident is important:

When you are with the injured person, ask if you do not already know, what type of household and chemical products has entered the eye and how much? Following this, you must wash the eyes with saline (sterile solution of NaCl). Water can be used in the absence of saline. Use the shower if necessary.

You should begin the eye wash as soon as you could. If there are any delays then it might cause the victim to lose his/her eye sight. If the product that entered the eye is unknown then call the emergency services as soon as you could.
After 20 or 30 minutes of eyewash, a professional aid must be obtained for further treatment. For minor burns, a light antibiotic (ophthalmic peroxide) will often be sufficient.

The acid burns have a better prognosis than alkaline solutions. Acids often form precipitates, which stops penetration. The alkaline on the other hand penetrates deep into tissues and continues to cause tissue damage even long after the accident.

Therefore, any burns with alkaline products should be referred to an ophthalmologist who is specialized in cornea.

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