When your Eyes are Exposed to Chemicals in the Home

Posted on Sunday, April 13th, 2014 by Dr. Binoy Jani

Ophthalmologist Culpeper

As we go about our daily chores at home, we may experience irritation or burning in the eyes. This happens when eyes are exposed to household cleaning solutions, fumes or paint. Most household cleaning products and pesticides come with instructions for proper usage and if used as directed, they are safe to be used.

The most prevalent issue faced during household chores or repairs are the eyes burning after painting with latex paint. The formaldehyde emitted by the paint fumes can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat while also causing headaches. Other common household chemicals that can irritate your eyes include toilet bowl cleaners, metal polish, descaler liquid, or battery fluid.

One may also suffer from chemical eye burns when the eye comes into contact with a solid, liquid, or vaporous chemical. If your eyes are exposed to such hazardous chemical substances, you may experience redness, irritation, pain, swelling of the eye, blurred vision, and/or an inability to open your eyes.

Chemical Burn Eye Home Treatment

The professional team of eye doctors at Vista Eye Specialists recommend that in such cases, the first thing that you should do is to flush the eyes out with water for at least 15 minutes or until the chemical is removed. As you rinse, use your fingers to hold your eye open as wide as possible and roll your eye. You can do so by slowly pouring lukewarm water into the eye from a pitcher or glass or by placing your head under a gently running faucet or shower. If the redness persists, using one or two drops of some long-acting vasoconstrictor eye drops (e.g. Visine) is recommended. In case you wear contact lenses, switch to glasses temporarily to prevent damage to the cornea. The pain and discomfort usually remains for an hour after irrigation with water.

Any discomfort to the eyes must be followed up by taking the patient to the nearest emergency room or eye clinic. Make Vista Eye Specialists your first choice if you are in the Culpeper or Fredericksburg, VA area.