Eye Injuries Due To Chemicals

Most of the Chemical injuries represent as eye burns.  Chemical burns represent a small percentage of eye injuries.it is common in agriculture, chemical industry laboratories, in machine factories, in and among laborers and construction workers. They also are sometime reported from fabric mills, automotive repair facilities, and cleaning and sanitizing crews. These injuries not only associated with the workers, but also common in households. Acids are commonly used in houses for cleaning purpose, any negligence may cause chemical burn. Chemical burns of the eyes occur most often among the age group from 20 to 40 years. In short it can occur under diverse circumstances and in such varied locations as the home, the workplace, and school. These injuries may be temporary or may cause permanent damage. Later condition is possible and can be blinding and life-altering. The severity of a burn depends on what type of substance caused it, how long the substance had contact with the eye, and which part of eye had contact.


Most chemical eye injuries occur at work. Industries use a variety of chemicals in their products. However, chemical injuries also frequently occur at home from cleaning products like acids or other regular household products. These injuries can be just as dangerous and must be treated and immediately and seriously. The severity differs from minor injury to complete blindness


1- Acids:

Most common acids are H2SO4, HCl, sulphurous and CH3COOH. Substances you have at home, may contain these chemicals include glass polish and vinegar. An automobile battery can explode and cause a sulfuric acid burn. This is one of the most common acidic burns of the eye. Acid chemical burns are less severe than alkaline burns. Acids damage only the external part of eye.  Eye’s anterior surface shows necrosis (death of cells). Corneal surface tissue becomes opaque and swollen.

2- Alkalies:

These burns are more serious than acid burns. Most common of them are NaOH, KOH and ammonia.it may damage both the surfaces of eye i.e. external or internal. Substances you may have at home that include fertilizers, cleaning products (ammonia), drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and plaster or cement. It causes necrosis of conjunctival and corneal epithelium. Deeper penetration causes damage to iris, lens and trabecular meshwork. Mark of burn are present over surrounding skin. Cornea is dull opaque.

3- Negligence

Industrial worker, mechanics, laborers and cement works do negligence during their works. They do direct contact with such hazardous chemicals and then undergo these burns.


1- Emergency treatment.

  • Irrigate the eye with water or normal saline
  • Neutralize the chemicals with weak acids or bases.
  • Removal of chemicals with cotton swab
  • Remove the devitalized tissue.

2-medical treatment.

It is done by antibiotics to prevent secondary infections. Cyclopegic drops to relieve pain. Steroids are used for first 7 days after which NSAIDs are used.

3-oral treatment

By antibiotic’s, analgesics (to relieve pain), vitamin C are given to reduce further inflammation.

4- Precautionary measurements

They must wear the Proper uniform, eyewear to cover the eyes properly and effectively, mask to cover the nose. By using glasses 90% eye injuries can be protected. Even After burns, doctor recommend the use of glasses for further control. It has protective coverings that protect eyes being injured. So first cover your eye with any eyewear then do work. Don’t take your eye as for granted.

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