The Basics of Eye Protection (Part 5)

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4. What to do in case of eye injury.

As hard as we may try to remove all hazards and protect ourselves, eye injuries can and will occur. Knowing what to do when the injury occurs is crucial. Often time is of the essence.

Treating a person who has something in his eye.
1. Do not rub the eye or allow the patient to rub his eye. Rubbing will further irritate.
2. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water to remove any possibility of further contamination
3. Flush the eye using an approved eye wash
4. If you can see the object try to remove it with a clean, lint-free cloth. Pull the top eyelid over the bottom eyelid to try to use the bottom eyelashes to pull the item free.
5. If you cannot get the object out, seek immediate medical attention.

Treating a chemical Splash or other chemical exposure
1. If the injured person is wearing contact lenses, remove the lenses immediately to keep the lens from trapping the chemical in the eye.
2. Flush the eye for 15 minutes straight to dilute and remove the chemical from the eye.
3. Seek immediate medical attention and, if possible, bring the bottle or the MSDS sheet with you.

Treating cuts or punctures to the eye
1. Protect the eye and seek immediate medical attention. Keep the bandage from touching the eye using a eye cup or the cut out bottom of a paper cup.
2. Do not rinse, apply pressure or give the patient aspirin, ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory drugs which might thin the blood and increase bleeding.

Treating a blow to the eye
1. Gently apply a cold wash cloth or compress to help reduce swelling. Do not apply pressure.
2. If the patient has blurred vision or other visual problem seek medical attention.

Treating light burns
1. Unlike other eye injuries, injuries related to lasers, welding and other radiant light sources may not be immediately detected. It may take several hours before the eye starts to feel irritated, as if there were sand in the eye. It may get severely bloodshot, or red, or it may swell. This may be as long as 12 hours after the exposure to the light. If this happens, cover the eye to avoid further irritation and get medical attention.

In any and all cases, you are better off getting professional medical help as soon as possible. Many eye injuries may not look that severe at first but could potentially result in permanent damage including permanent loss of vision.

Download all five parts of “The Basics of Eye Protection” as a single document by clicking here.

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