2285 Aloma Ave. Winter Park, FL 32792 Schedule An Exam - Call Us Today!  (407)672-2020

Chemical Burns and the eye: All you need to know

Chemical burns occur when the eye comes in contact with a chemical substance, and it can have a severe impact on the eye. A chemical substance can have severe effects on the quality of vision and the long-term health of the eyes if care is not taken. And it is so severe that once you experience this, you should immediately go to see an Optometrist in Winter Park. Even if you think there is a slim chance that you would ever have a chemical agent get into your eyes, it remains vital that you know what to do if it happens.

The eye does not accommodate foreign substances, and this is why, if a foreign substance gets into the eye unless the substance is taken out, you would not feel comfortable. For instance, if soap gets into the eye, it typically will not cause any permanent or long-term damage to the eyes, but that temporary irritation is not something anyone would willingly like to experience. Eye discomfort or irritation is not fun, and no one truly knows what substances can cause the most severe damages to the eyes and which ones are more benign. So, here’s a look at chemical burns to the eye and how to deal with it.

pH Scale

We come across and make use of a lot of items that can have severe impact to the eyes on a daily basis. And generally, the differences in the severity of what these substances can do to the eyes lie in the pH scale. PH scale which means “potential of hydrogen” scale is a scale that measures the amount of acid contained in a substance. Pure water, with a pH of 7 is neutral which is in the middle of the scale, and like we all know, is safe to use on the eyes. If you move beyond 7, towards 14 or higher, you’ll have a more basic pH and if you go lesser than 7 towards 0 or lower, that is acidic. Examples of acidic substances include citrus, vinegar and battery acid while basic substances include bleach, baking soda and salt water.

A lot of people think the more acidic a substance is, the more dangerous it will be - especially to the eyes. But in most cases, this is wrong. This is not to rule out the fact that acidic substances can cause severe irritation and pain to the out, but if an acidic substance gets into the eye, all it needs is a lot of water. Remember when some lemon juice got into your eyes, it hurt you, right? But it did not cause any long-term vision problems. You probably rinsed it off with lots of water, and that was it. Acids have limited ability to penetrate tissue, and their high level of viscosity makes it easy to dilute and diffuse them with water.

Basic substances on the other hand are more dangerous than acidic substances. Unlike acids, bases can easily penetrate tissue and cause irreparable damage, especially to the eyes. Severe chemical burns are mostly caused by basic substances. You need to take care with how you mix bases with water because base reacts highly with water and if a base comes in contact with your eyes, adding water can cause more heat, worsen the pain and make the burn more severe. So, most times, in the event that a basic substance comes in contact with the eye, the impact is not felt immediately. In fact, it may not make the eye red immediately like an acidic substance would but the truth is, it is probably causing harm to the eye at that moment and you should be thinking of swing an Optometrist in Winter Park as soon as possible. It is this delayed-effect that makes a lot of people think basic substances are not all that harmful. This explains why most people feel comfortable around bases and never think they are harmful.

Dealing with chemical burns

A chemical burn can either be acidic or basic, and all the points made earlier do not mean acids are not harmless. In any case, no chemical substance should enter the eye whether acidic or basic. But in the unfortunate situation that it happens, you should find a way to get it ringed out of your eye immediately. An effective method is placing the eye under a water faucet and allowing lukewarm water run over the eye for up to15 minutes. After you have rinsed the eyes, whether you feel any pain or not, you should see an optometrist in Winter Park. If you know the chemical that got into your eyes, tell the optometrist, so they will know how best to assist you further.

How to treat Eye Chemical Burn Injuries

For severe burn injuries to the eye, rehabilitation can be done using sclera lenses. At Eyes of Winter Park, we rehabilitate eye burn injuries from chemicals, and we have the best optometrists in Winter Park to deal with any eye problems you may have.

Chemicals with a high base can change the ocular and corneal surfaces which can lead to lingering eye problems. Most patients who have suffered severe eye chemical burn injuries usually live with irregular astigmatism and scarring. Some of the effects include eye discomfort and visual distortion. All of these issues can be corrected with the Sclera lens which is placed on the sclera (the white part of the eye). The position of the sclera lenses gives the maximum eye protection and enough hydration. By doing so, the eye is cured of any corneal irregularity or visual distortion. For victims of eye chemical burns, using sclera lenses has proved to be effective in restoring clear and quality vision to the eyes. An optometrist in Winter Park will lay out your options for you if you are a victim of chemical burns.

Put a call through today to speak with one of our Optometrists in Winter Park to schedule an appointment. You can reach us by calling 407-672-2020 today.

Call us today to schedule an exam!