Monday, August 08, 2016

Toddlers at risk for chemical eye burns

Time was, everyone assumed that adult workers in sketchy factories or professions were the ones who would get chemical burns--in the eyes and elsewhere.

According to a Johns Hopkins study, though, the ones most likely to suffer these injuries are toddlers--ages 1 and 2.

According to the findings, published in the August 4th JAMA Ophthalmology, factories and other businesses handling chemicals are subject to safety regs and have goggles and treatments for accidental exposure to chemicals.

Not so much in the kitchen or garage.

Study leader R. Sterling Haring, DO, these are terrible injuries--and entirely preventable.

Chemical burns in the eye are so bad because even if caught, the chemicals continue to burn and can damage internal eye structures beyond repair.

The researchers looked at four years of data across all age groups.  Between 2010 and 2013, there were 144,000 ER visits related to chemical eye burns nationwide. These happened mostly at home, were more common in the bottom half of the income scale, and occurred mostly in the South.

One- and two-year-olds had the most--with one-year-olds twice as likely to get such an injury as a 24-year-old.

These injuries can happen in an instant--as long as it takes for a toddler to open a cupboard and find a loose cap on a bottle or want to spray like Mommy does. Alkaline burns are the worst--and continue to burn and burn. The eyes must be flushed out immediately.

Still, working-age people are also at high risk.

Everyone must be protected against these devastating injuries, the researchers said.

This means safety training, treatment facilities such as eye washing stations at hand, locked up or inaccessible substances, and vigilance.

An eye is a terrible thing to lose--I know, I lost one.


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