10 May Eye Damage from Welding Torches
A flash burn is a painful inflammation of the cornea, which is the clear tissue that covers the front of the eye. A flash burn occurs when you are exposed to bright ultraviolet (UV) light. It can be caused by all types of UV light, but welding torches are the most common source. That’s why it sometimes has the nickname of ‘Welders Flash’ or ‘Arc Eye’. Other causes can be such things like direct sunlight, reflection of the sun off water or snow, sunlamp in a tanning salon, some types of lamps, such as halogen or a photographer’s flood lamp.
Flash burns are like sunburn in the eye and can affect both your eyes. Your cornea can repair itself in one to two days, and usually heals without leaving a scar. However, if the flash burn is not treated, an infection may start. This can be serious and may lead to some loss of vision.
Symptoms of Flash Burn
The symptoms of flash burn include:
- Pain that may be mild to very severe, usually starting a few hours after the incident.
- Bloodshot eyes.
- Light sensitivity.
- Watery eyes.
- Blurred Vision.
- The feeling of having something in your eye.
Treatment for Flash Burn
Treatments for flash burn may include:
- Dilating drops – these are sometimes used to relax the eye muscles, which in turn eases the pain and allows your eyes to rest and heal. Your pupils will look bigger than normal and this effect lasts up to several hours or a few days.
- Dressing – your eyes may be covered with a padded dressing to rest them and allow them to heal.
- Antibiotics – you may be advised to use antibiotic drops or ointment at home to stop infection. You may also be given a mild steroid-based anti-inflammatory drop.
Prevention is best, some suggestions for preventing flash burn include wearing coated safety glasses/goggles to protect the cornea from UV light, wearing a welder’s mask when welding, is wearing sunglasses to protect from flash burn, they should protect against both UVA and UVB radiation, this should be stated on the label of the product.