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Eye Protection at Work: First Aid

Medical care

Report all eye injuries to your supervisor right away for medical care.

Foreign particles

If you get anything in your eye—dirt, metal, even an eyelash—go to the nearest eyewash station or water source. Flush the eye with water until the object has been rinsed out. Don't rub your eye. This can scratch your eye or embed the object. If the particle doesn't rinse free, bandage your eye loosely and get medical care.

Person flushing eyes with water at eye wash station.

Chemical splashes

Seconds count! Go right away to the nearest emergency shower or water source. Look directly into the stream of water—hold your eyes open with your fingers if needed—and flush your eyes and face for at least 15 minutes. Get medical care.

Light burns

If you're exposed to welding, laser, or other radiant light when you're not wearing the correct protective eye wear, you likely won't feel pain right away. But from 4 to 12 hours later your eyes may feel gritty, be sensitive to light, or get red or swollen. If this occurs, keep your eyes closed to prevent irritation and get medical care.

Cuts near the eye

Don't rub, press, or wash the cut. This can cause more damage. Loosely bandage both eyes to stop any eye movement, and get medical care.

Embedded objects

Never try to remove objects embedded in your eye. This can cause more damage. Loosely bandage both eyes and get medical care.

Bumps and blows

If you get a bump or blow to the eye, put a cold compress on for 15 minutes to reduce the pain and swelling. Get medical care to check for damage that may have occurred inside the eye.

Online Medical Reviewer: Amy Finke RN BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Chris Haupert MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2021
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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