Eyewash stations are a necessity at work, but you should also consider having a few at home.
In an emergency, quick action is always critical to a successful outcome. Because the eye in particular is so easily damaged, if left untreated, injuries such as debris in the eye, cuts, punctures, chemical burns, and blunt trauma can lead to temporary or even permanent blindness. Save valuable time and possibly prevent vision loss by staying cool-headed and being prepared to take prompt, appropriate action.
Three Important Steps To Take Before an Eye Emergency Occurs:
- Stock a first aid cabinet with a rigid eye shield and commercial eyewash.
- Inside the first aid cabinet, post the following “DOs and DON”™Ts“, or post a free First Aid for Eye Emergencies sticker. Review these guidelines often.
- Post emergency phone numbers in large print with clear instructions for how to seek immediate medical attention.
DOs and DON”™Ts While Awaiting Medical Assistance
After medical help has been called, follow these important steps while waiting for support:
Debris in the Eye
- DO NOT rub the eye or apply pressure.
- DO NOT try to remove the debris by touching the eye in any manner.
- DO try lifting the upper eyelid outward and down over the lower lid.
- DO try to let tears wash specks away or try to flush them out with an eyewash.
- If the debris cannot be washed away, DO keep the eye closed, bandage it loosely with gauze or a cloth patch, and seek prompt medical attention.
Blunt Trauma (A Blow to the Eye)
- DO NOT put any heavy pressure on the eye.
- DO apply a cold, light compress. A small amount of crushed ice in a plastic bag can be taped to the forehead to rest gently on the injured eye.
- DO seek immediate medical care if there is pain, reduced vision, or a black eye. These symptoms could indicate internal eye damage.
Cuts and Punctures to the Eye or Eyelid
- DO NOT wash out the eye with water or any other liquid.
- DO NOT apply pressure.
- DO NOT try to remove any object that may be stuck in the eye.
- DO cover the eye with a rigid shield. The bottom half of a paper cup may be used.
- DO seek emergency medical care as quickly as possible.
In all cases of eye contact with chemicals:
- DO NOT use an eyecup.
- DO NOT bandage, touch, or rub the eye.
- DO flush the eye immediately with water or any other drinkable liquid for at least 15 minutes. Keep the eye wide open and hold under a faucet or shower, or pour liquid into the eye using a clean container. If a contact lens is in the eye, flush over the lens even if this washes the lens away.
- DO protect the uninjured eye from the contaminated water.
- DO seek immediate medical treatment while continuing the 15-minute flushing.
DO Protect Against Eye Injuries Before They Occur