Terrence Steyer, M.D.
Chair, Department of Family Medicine
DO YOU KNOW?
Great strides have been made in ophthalmology but there are limits to what can be done for certain types of irreversible eye damage. The best therapy for eye trauma remains prevention!
|USE THE CORRECT EYEWEAR PROTECTOR FOR THE HAZARD*|
|CHEMICAL: Wear cover or eyecup goggles to protect against splashes and fumes. Use a face shield for severe exposures. Contact lens users should be especially cautious because the lenses may trap chemicals and their vapors.|
|IMPACT: Flying particles from chain saws, grinders, chippers, sanders and many other farm, industrial, home and garden tools can pose serious eye hazards. Always wear safety spectacles or goggles, and use a face shield for severe exposure.|
|DUST: Wear cover or eyecup goggles to protect the eyes from dust while working in dusty conditions.|
|OPTICAL RADIATION: Arc welding - welding helmet with 10-14 filter shade; gas welding - welding goggles or face shield with 4-8 filter; cutting - welding goggles or face shield with 3-6 filter; torch brazing - welding goggles or face shield with 3-4 filter; torch soldering - safety spectacles with tinted lenses or welding face shield.|
WHAT TO DO IF AN EYE INJURY OCCURS
Despite protection from various portions of the skull and eyelid (blink mechanism), the eye remains vulnerable to several mechanisms of trauma including chemical injury, lacerations, abrasions and penetrating injury, foreign material injury, and UV radiation (welding burn).
-- CHEMICAL INJURIES require prompt and thorough irrigation. Injuries resulting from acidic or alkaline material should be irrigated for at least 15 minutes with saline or water. Prompt evaluation by an ophthalmologist is necessary to determine the extent of the injury and subsequent management. If at all possible the chemical should be identified to, or brought to, the ophthalmologist.
-- LACERATIONS and penetrating injuries of the eye require prompt attention by the ophthalmologist. The eye should not be manipulated in any way and should be protected with glasses or a shield until evaluation is possible.
-- FOREIGN MATERIAL may be irrigated from the eye; however, foreign bodies that are imbedded in the cornea require removal by an ophthalmologist.
-- BLUNT TRAUMA that results in persistent redness, sensitivity to sunlight, ocular discharge, reduced vision or pain requires evaluation by an ophthalmologist to minimize damage.
-- INSECT STINGS of the eyelid or eyeball are uncommon but may result in intense discomfort and swelling. They require a detailed evaluation by an ophthalmologist. Simple mosquito bites of the eyelid usually respond to frequent cool compresses and antihistamines.
PREVENTION OF EYE INJURY