Eye Health

Updated 13 February 2015

Preventing damage to your eyes

Chemicals that accidentally splash into the eye may rapidly harm its delicate surfaces.

Chemicals that accidentally splash into the eye may rapidly harm its delicate surfaces. Many household products, such as detergents and bleach, may cause serious damage and injuries should be treated promptly.

Take action:
No time must be lost in washing out chemicals. Place the eye directly under a gently running stream of water from a tap or shower, positioning the head so that contaminated water does not run into the other eye or down the face. Rinse the eye thoroughly by moving the eye in all directions. Open the eyelids with your fingers to ensure that the water gets to all parts of the eye. If the person is wearing contact lenses, do not try to remove the lens – flush the eye out first. See a doctor if the burning sensation is not relieved within 30 minutes, if an acid or alkali was involved, if there is blurring of vision, or if the eye becomes sensitive to light.


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Megan Goodman qualified as an optometrist from the University of Johannesburg and is currently practising at Tygerberg Academic Hospital in Cape Town. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University. She has a keen interest in ocular pathology and evidence based medicine as well as contact lenses.

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