Eye injury: signs, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment for tear gas and other toxic chemical exposure; self help and first aid advice from a Berkeley optometrist:
the cornea is the clear thin dome that covers the color part of the eye; thermal burns secondary to physical attack with chemicals, often including those such used in Oakland 99%, can cause corneal pitting and swelling.
water treatment can make it much worse with some chemicals – check “MSDS” specifics on the canister if possible.
EMERGENCY TREATMENT: first, brush off any powdered chemicals. second, asap run tap or nozzle water into their cupped hands, they bend over, placing their eye right in the water and blink blink blink x 10, looking down into the water, opening wide to rinse well under the lids. then, dump old water and replace with fresh clean water and do it again, each eye; repeat as needed, immersing the eye without squinting if possible.
DO NOT look up into a falling stream, since this can run down the face, neck and get the toxins on the clothes, which increases exposure. contact lenses need to be removed carefully and eyes not rubbed; do not re-insert.
flushing under the lids is essential and may need professional help. clean face and hair, clothes and bedding so as not to spread the toxins, especially around children.
signs – eyes look red, tear profusely, sharp pain, especially after blinking , front of the eyes look hazy.
symptoms of corneal injury: acute pain, tearing, lid spasms, extra sensitivity to light, pain when moving the eyes around, scratchy foreign-body sensation under the eyelids especially when blinking, new blurry vision at all distances.
diagnosis for first aid stations or remote areas: put in a drop of water on a sodium fluorescein dye sterile paper strip and instill onto the tears; then inspect with a cobalt light (blue), which will glow bright green at the worst areas.
refer to an eye doctor if it glows and/or remains painful. over the counter analgesics may be helpful.
free screening for ocular- injured people available if needed; call 510.540.5555 – code ” 99%”.