Laborers' Union Offers Tips for Dealing With Eye Injuries

Safety glasses, goggles and face shields are a defense against dust, splinters, metal flecks, sparks, chemical splashes, welding arcs and other workplace hazards that can cause eye injuries or even blindness. The Laborers' Health and Safety Fund of North America offers the following tips for workers who do sustain an eye injury:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before examining the injury, move the eyelids; do not touch, press or rub the eye itself.

  • If a foreign object is caught in the eye, use an eye-washing station immediately.

  • If an eye-washing station is not available, flush eyes with lukewarm water repeatedly for 15 minutes. Continue for 15 more minutes if lime, lye, ammonia, plaster of Paris or fireworks powder has entered the eye.

  • Do not try to remove foreign material except by pulling the upper lid over the lower (to induce tearing) or by flushing with water.

  • For blows to the eye by a blunt object, lightly apply a cold compress; do not attempt to wash, rub or apply pressure to the eye, even to stop blood flow; seek medical treatment.

  • For penetrating injuries, bandage lightly. If an object is stuck in the eye, leave it there and seek medical treatment.

  • If vision changes or signs of infection develop after an injury, seek medical attention.

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