Medical First Aid Guide


Table 7: EYE EXPOSURE TO CHEMICALS

Chemical splashes involving the eye may cause local irritation, inflammation, pain and, in severe cases, blindness.
TREATMENT IS URGENT

Eye contamination with solid CALCIUM OXIDE and CALCIUM HYDROXIDE (quicklime; slaked lime)

  • To avoid “lime burns”, try to swab particles mechanically from the eye before washing.
    Outer eyelid swab
    A cotton bud, match or similar object is held over the closed eyelid.
    Inner eyelid swab
    The eyelid is turned inside out over the cotton bud.

Eye contamination with other chemicals

  • IMMEDIATE washing of the eye with copious amounts of water.
  • Keep the eyelids widely apart as illustrated.
  • Remove contact lens.
  • Direct water flow from inner to outer corner of the eye. Washing must be done thoroughly for ten minutes, timed by the clock.
    Eye rinse
  • If available, use a 1 L bag of sodium chloride 0.9% with a drip set to irrigate the eye.
  • Don’t delay. Use water until drip is ready.
Signs and symptoms Treatment
  • Anaesthetic eye drops should be instilled in the eye to ensure adequate irrigation of the eye.
Pain, redness and watering of the eye
  • If pain is severe, anaesthetic eye drops should be instilled in the eye to relieve pain.
  • If the eye continues to be painful, give two tablets of paracetamol every 6 hours until the pain is relieved.
  • RADIO FOR MEDICAL ADVICE.
Unrelieved severe pain
  • If severe pain continues despite 10 minutes irrigation of the eye with water, repeat the eye wash for a further 10 minutes after instilling anaesthetic eye drops and RADIO FOR MEDICAL ADVICE.
  • Give 10 mg morphine sulphate and 10 mg metoclopramide intramuscularly, if advised medically.
Further advice on pain relief: see table 13.
Loss of vision
  • This is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY.
  • Irrigate the eye as described above and seek URGENT medical advice.
Further advice on the treatment of eye injury: see appendix 7.

Table 6: Toxic mental confusion

Table 8: Skin exposure to chemicals