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Burns to the Eye


Topic Overview

Picture of the anatomy of the eye Most substances you get in your eyes that make your eyes burn will not cause serious eye problems. The only treatment needed for items such as soaps, shampoos, and perfumes that get in the eyes is to immediately flush the eyes with water. After flushing, the eyes may be slightly painful and irritated, but these symptoms should go away quickly.

See a picture of the eyeClick here to see an illustration..

Chemical burns can happen if a solid or liquid chemical or chemical fumes get into the eye. Many substances will not cause damage if they are flushed out of the eye quickly. Acids (such as bleach or battery acid) and alkali substances (such as oven cleansers or fertilizers) can damage the eye. It may take 24 hours after the burn occurs to determine the seriousness of an eye burn. Chemical fumes and vapors can also irritate the eyes.

Burns to the eyelid or eye can cause eye problems. Blasts of hot air or steam can burn the face and eyes. Bursts of flames or flash fires from stoves or explosives can also burn the face and eyes. If you have burns to your eyelids, see the topic Burns.

Eyes that are not protected by a mask or ultraviolet (UV) filtering sunglasses can be burned by exposure to the high-intensity light of a welder's equipment (torch or arc) or to bright sunlight (especially when the sun is reflecting off snow or water). The eyes also may be injured by other bright lights, such as from tanning booths or sunlamps. It may take up to 24 hours for the extent of the eye injury to be known.

After a burn injury to the eye, it is important to watch for signs of an eye infection.

For more information about other types of eye injuries, such as blows to the eye, see the topic Eye Injuries.

Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.

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