Chemical eye burns occur when the eye comes into contact with a solid, liquid, or vaporous chemical. The severity of the burn depends on the chemical, as well as the amount that comes into contact with the eye. Fortunately, the vast majority of burns are treatable and cause only temporary discomfort^1^.
Chemical eye burns fall into three categories based upon acidic or alkaline level, measured in pH. The pH scale ranges from 0-14 and indicates how acidic or basic (alkaline) a substance is. A pH of 7 is neutral; the pH of healthy tears is 7.5. A pH of less than 7 is acidic while a pH greater than 7 is basic^1^.
Chemical burns can occur at any time in various circumstances. Most commonly, they occur in industrial workplaces where chemicals are present, and at home with common household cleaning products^2^.
Vision loss indicates a severe chemical eye burn. Other signs and symptoms include^3^:
No matter what the situation is, the most important thing to do if you experience an eye burn is to get the chemical out of the eyes. A special chemical eye wash station is the best way to do this; however, if the burn doesn’t happen at work, tap water is a suitable alternative. To treat a chemical eye burn:
1. Dr. Ghosheh Adavanced Eye Medical. Preventing and treating chemical eye burns. Available at: [http://www.laserforeyes.com/blog/preventing-treating-chemical-eye-burns/]
2. Boots WebMD. Chemical Eye burns – Symptoms .Available at: [http://www.webmd.boots.com/eye-health/guide/chemical-eye-burns] 3. Boots WebMD. Chemical Eye Burns – Treatments. Available at: [http://www.webmd.boots.com/eye-health/guide/chemical-eye-burns?page=2]
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