According to the American Institutional Medical Academy, more than 25,000 chemicals exist that have the potential to cause devastating and irreparable damage to the eye. A good majority of those chemicals have been classified as oxidizing or reducing agents, bases or acids, or corrosives. Acids and bases are the agents most frequently linked to chemical burns and ocular damage. All of the listed agents are frequently found and handled in workplaces across America.
Ocular damage due to chemical exposure constitutes an ophthalmic emergency, as lack of immediate treatment can lead to permanent visual impairment and harm to the structural integrity of the eye. Depending on the severity of the injury, the burn may penetrate deeper than the surface and cause significant damage to the entire structure. In many cases, prompt flushing of the eye dramatically reduces the risk of injury and long-term damage. However, Better Health Channel encourages any person whose eye or eyes have come into contact with a harmful agent to head to the nearest emergency room immediately.
How to Know You Suffer From a Chemical Eye Burn
Typically, most victims of chemical burns are aware almost immediately of the harm and the cause. For instance, a worker may handle an acid and that agent may accidentally splash into his or her unprotected eyes. In another obvious instance, a worker may have remnants of an agent on his or her hands and, not thinking, rub his or her eyes. However, there are instances in which the hazard is not immediately noticeable. In these cases, it is important to recognize the symptoms of chemical eye burns and respond appropriately. Some symptoms of chemical burns are as follows:
- Blurred vision;
- Burning sensation;
- Swelling of the eyelids; and
Complications of Chemical Eye Burns
If you notice any of the above symptoms, and if you have recently been in contact with or around a chemical, you may be experiencing the symptoms of a chemical burn. If so, it is imperative that you act immediately and seek medical attention. Failure to do so may result in one or more of the following complications:
- Corneal ulcer, or superficial damage to the cornea;
- Corneal perforation, or full surface damage to the surface of the eye;
- Glaucoma, or high pressure within the eye, which ultimately damages the optic nerve; and
- Cataracts, which is an abnormal clouding of the eye’s lens.
Each of the aforementioned conditions causes vision loss, discomfort, and other secondary side effects. For instance, one report by Duke Health describes the complications individuals who lose vision in one eye experience post vision loss. Adults who lose sight in one eye have declined in their abilities to accurately judge distances, track moving objects, and perceive depth. While those adults can train themselves to constantly use one eye and their other senses to gather information, the process takes time. Until retrained, individuals discover that everything from putting on their shoes to performing their work duties is difficult, if not impossible.
Contact Your Rockford Eye Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one sustained an eye injury at work, reach out to an experienced Rockford eye injury lawyer right away. The right attorney will investigate the cause of the incident and help you pursue the workers’ compensation benefits you need and deserve. Contact Brassfield, Krueger & Ramlow, LTD. today to get started.