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Eye Injury: First Aid for Heat Burns

British Columbia Specific Information

Any burn injury to the eye requires medical attention as soon as possible. Provide first aid, such as immediately flushing the eye with cool water, until the injured person can be transported for medical aid to stop further injury to the eye.

If you are concerned about a possible chemical burn, call Poison Control right away at 1-800-567-8911 toll-free in British Columbia or 604-682-5050 in Greater Vancouver. If you are concerned about a burn to the eye, call 9-1-1. For more information call 8-1-1 or your health care provider immediately, as a burn to the eye requires medical attention as soon as possible. For more information on chemical burns, visit the British Columbia Drug and Poison Information Centre website.

Topic Overview

  • Immediately

    flush the eye

    with cool water. Fill a sink or dishpan with water. Put your face in the water, then open and close your eyelids to force water to all parts of your eye. You can also flush your eye under a running faucet or shower. You may need to open and close your eyelids with your fingers. Move your eye in all directions during the flushing so that all areas of your eye are rinsed. This is the first thing a doctor would do.
  • Keep flushing for 30 minutes. The eye may feel better while flushing with cool water but may continue to be painful after you stop flushing.
  • After flushing your eye, wear dark glasses or cover the eye with a sterile bandage or cloth. If you don't have a sterile one, use a clean bandage or cloth. Do not use fluffy cotton bandages around the eye. They could tear apart and get stuck in the eye. Keeping the eye closed may help reduce pain.
  • Do not apply any pressure to the eye or the area around the eye.
  • If blisters form, do not pop them.
  • Use a light, cool compress to reduce the pain. If a small ice pack is used, place a cloth between the ice and the skin. Do not use chemical cooling packs on the eyes. If the pack leaks, the chemicals could cause more eye damage.

Credits

Current as of:
February 26, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine