Chemical eye injuries can be permanent and life-altering. Sight is a fundamental part of everyday life, almost every activity relies upon it, but the human eye is a delicate part of the body. Among ocular traumas, approximately 18% are the result of chemical substances. Many of these injuries happen in the workplace but can also occur at home, mainly caused by dangerous cleaning products or other household items. This type of injury presents a severe health issue that can result in a complete loss of eyesight. Considering the nature of this injury, prompt intervention provides the best possible outcome. Personal injury cases for these types of injuries often involve unique legal challenges, but we can help you.
Chemical Injuries to the Eyes
Sudden spraying or splashing in the eye by anything other than clean, harmless water can be dangerous. Some substances may burn or sting but are harmless in the long run, while others can cause serious injuries. Depending on the liquid the eyes come in contact with, the effects of chemical exposures causing eye injuries can range from:
- Minor irritation
- Red eyes
- Blurred vision
- Burning eyes
- Excessive tearing
- Serious eye damage
Chemical injuries to the eye can have a range of complications, from minor to severe damage:
- Corneal ulcer (superficial damage to the cornea)
- Corneal perforation (full-thickness injury to the cornea)
- Cataracts (abnormal clouding of the eye's lens)
- Glaucoma (high pressure within the eye, affecting the optic nerve)
- Retinal damage
- Eye loss
The elementary makeup of the chemical involved can make a lot of difference, such as:
- Acids mainly only affect the eye's surface (pH value less than 7) as they do not penetrate the tissue as easily. Neutral (pH value of 7) substances are classified as irritants because they generally do not cause permanent damage to the eye. They can be found in car batteries, glass polish, vinegar, nail polish remover, most detergents, other cleaning products, and pepper spray.
- Alkali burns are the most dangerous (chemical substances with a pH value greater than 7); they inflict damage by penetrating the surface tissue and causing actual harm to internal and external structures. Alkali can be found in fertilizers, drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and plaster or cement.
The means of chemical exposure and burns can vary, such as:
- A splash of liquid gets the eye
- Chemical transfer from hands to the eye by rubbing the eye
- Aerosol spray in the eye
- Paint drips in the eye while painting a ceiling
What Are Common Causes of Chemical Eye Injuries?
Everyday products causing chemical injuries at home include, but are not limited to:
- Automobile battery
- Household detergents
In agricultural environments, substances that can cause possible eye damage include fertilizers or pesticides. In industry, a wide variety of chemicals and solvents that are harmful to the eye are regularly used. Dangerous chemicals are routinely used in all sectors, such as manufacturing, laboratories, mining, construction, agriculture, and cleaning. However, the risks should be minimized if the appropriate safety and health regulations are respected.
The severity of an injury is influenced by various factors, such as:
- Type of substance
- The concentration of the solution
- Duration of direct exposure
Direct contact with the outer surface causes most burns, but chemicals can also affect ocular tissue through the skin, lungs, or digestive tract absorption.
What to Do in Case of Chemical Substances Exposure
If the chemical is an irritant and:
- The symptoms are only minor or nonexistent: ask your ophthalmologist for advice first, and if advised to stay home, monitor your condition attentively.
- If the symptoms worsen: call your doctor to arrange a meeting for that day or go to the Emergency Room. All burns caused by acid or alkali agents require prompt intervention and evaluation by a doctor.
If you cannot tell with certainty what type of substance you have been exposed to in an accident at the workplace, ask your employer for relevant documentation to present the doctor with. All industries must keep an MSDS (Materials Safety Data Sheet) on any chemicals used and provide product labels with appropriate pictograms warning about product hazards. Show your physician the MSDS, or if the data-sheet is not available, the label of the product.
People Who Suffer Vision Loss Due to Chemicals May Proceed with Product Injury Claims
All industry institutions that work with harmful chemicals must have specific health and safety procedures. If an employee suffers injuries from exposure to those chemicals, the employer could be held responsible and deemed negligent if the necessary regulations were not in place.
Employers must provide proper and adequate means for employees to work. This responsibility includes:
- Providing safe systems of work
- Maintaining safe machinery and equipment
It stays in the responsibility of the employer to provide employees with adequate:
Failure to ensure a safe working environment attracts liability, and the employer affected might be entitled to recover damages.
A Miami Defective Product Attorney Can Help You Rebuild Your Life
As with any claim, presenting a case for chemical burn compensation requires establishing liability. Valuable sources for evidence include:
- Medical and accident book reports
- Witness accounts
Chemical burns can create long-term problems, so receiving the best possible compensation is essential. Please call our Miami-based attorney today if you suffered a chemical-related accident caused by a product malfunction or employer negligence and find out if you are entitled to claim compensation. Take a look at our Verdicts and Settlements page and our many testimonials.