Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Chemical in Eye
Acids and alkalis splashed into the eye can severely damage
the cornea (clear part of the eye). However, most chemicals
just cause temporary stinging and superficial irritation
(for example, alcohol or hydrocarbons). All should be
treated as emergencies until your physician or a Poison
Control Center expert tells you otherwise.
Immediate and thorough irrigation of the eye with tap water
is essential to prevent damage to the cornea. (Do not use
antidotes such as vinegar.) This irrigation should be
performed at home and as quickly as possible. Either hold
your child's face up under a gently running water tap or
have your child lie down and continuously pour lukewarm
water into the eye from a pitcher or glass. It is very
important to hold the eyelids open during this process. For
most chemicals, the eye should be irrigated for 5 minutes.
However, it should be irrigated for 10 minutes for acids and
20 minutes for alkalis. Call your child's physician
IMMEDIATELY after irrigating the eye.
For minor irritants (for example, soap or food), see
Pink or Red Eye without Pus