In case chemicals or other contaminants enter the eyes, it is vital that the eyes are rinsed right away. Eye issues that involve dangerous or hazardous chemicals can be severe. It is required that an emergency eye wash must be carried out especially in locations or areas that involves the use of corrosive or toxic materials. You can be prepared to handle this emergency if you will register for first aid training today.
If the individual is wearing contacts during contact with chemicals, he/she should remove the lenses right away. Always bear in mind that many tend to react to any foreign body including chemicals, by keeping the eyes closed. Nevertheless, this is counter intuitive to cleansing the eyes out and prevents water or the rinsing solution from entering.
You have to make sure that you will hold the eyelids open using your index finger and thumb to ensure that the rinsing solution enters the whole eye area. Even though this can be painful, the eyelids should stay open during the emergency eye wash procedure.
You have to avoid washing the chemicals into the eyes, simply wash from the exterior edges of the eyes towards the interior of the eyes. Do not flush the water directly onto the eye; just aim using an angle toward the base of the nose.
Duration of the emergency eye wash procedure
The minimum time frame to rinse the eye is about 15 minutes. You have to thoroughly flush the whole eye and eyelid using water or a rinsing solution for at least 15 minutes. Instruct the individual to roll his/her eyes, look up, down and to the sides while rinsing.
You have to maintain a moderate stream of water – not too forceful or too light with enough pressure to completely rinse the eyes, but not too much force to avoid causing damage. You can test the stream of the water on the palm of your hand or finger in case in doubt about the pressure.
Important considerations to bear in mind
You have to request another individual to call for emergency assistance. Do not wait to start rinsing the affected eye. Make sure that you will rinse the eye right after exposure and request someone to call for help.
In case no one else is available, you have to call for emergency assistance while rinsing. The faster the eyes are washed, the better the chance for preventing lasting damage or even blindness.
It is important to run through eye washing before an incident occurs. Even though this seems pointless or awkward, possessing the information on how to rinse the eyes prior to an actual emergency is very useful. Always remember that practice will make it easier to react hastily and properly during an emergency.
In case an individual is alone and ends up exposed to chemicals, he/she should follow the same procedures when rinsing his/her own eyes immediately.
Any accident or chemical exposure to the eyes should be followed-up with an exam by an eye specialist such as an ophthalmologist to ensure that the eyes are damaged or do no need any further medical care.