Symptoms and Signs of Chemical Eye Burns

Doctor's Notes on Chemical Eye Burns

Chemical exposure to any part of the eye or eyelid may result in a chemical eye burn. Permanent damage from a chemical eye burn is possible and blindness can occur. The severity of an eye burn depends on what substance caused it, how long the substance was in contact with the eye, and how the injury is treated. Damage from a chemical burn to the eye is usually limited to the front segment of the eye, including the cornea, the conjunctiva, and occasionally the internal eye structures of the eye, including the lens. Burns that penetrate deeper than the cornea are severe and can cause cataracts and glaucoma.

Symptoms of chemical eye burns include eye pain, redness, irritation, tearing, inability to keep the eye open, feeling as if something is in the eye, eyelid swelling, or blurred vision. Serious chemical eye burn symptoms include glaucoma (an increase of the pressure inside the eye) and loss of vision.

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.