Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Chemical in the Eye

Chemical in the Eye

Topic Overview

Many soaps, shampoos, and perfumes cause some burning in the eye. Flushing these products out of the eye quickly usually prevents any permanent damage or other problems. Other products also contain chemicals that can cause the eyes to burn. Predictably, pepper spray causes a burning sensation in the eyes. But so do car air bags, which contain chemicals that can cause the eyes to burn when the air bag inflates. Chemical particles can also become stuck in the eye.

Acid products—including toilet cleaners, battery acid, bleach, chemicals used in industry for crystal etching, and chemicals that are added to gas—can cause burning in the eye and possibly more severe damage. The damage is usually kept to the area of contact and does not normally cause damage deep in the tissue.

Alkaline products—including lime products, plaster and mortar, oven and drain cleaners, fertilizers, liquid or powder dishwasher soap, and sparks from "sparklers"—can quickly cause serious damage. Alkaline chemicals are able to penetrate and damage the deeper layers of tissue.

Acid and alkali burns can cause mild to severe problems, depending on the type, strength, and the length of time the chemical is in contact with the body. Immediately flush the eye with large amounts of water for 30 minutes. Pull the lower lid away from the eye and flush out this area.

If you are wearing contacts, remove them before flushing your eye. If you are not able to remove the contacts, flush with your contacts in.

Call a poison control center for more information about how to treat the burn. When you call the poison control center, have the chemical container with you, so you can read the content label to the poison control person.

Glue causes problems when it gets into the eye because the treatment for removing it may cause more damage to the eye. Many water-based glues can be flushed out of the eye with water. Superglue needs special medical attention. Start flushing your eye with water and call your doctor to arrange for your care. An eye specialist (ophthalmologist) may be needed to treat this type of injury. If you are unable to reach your doctor, go to the nearest emergency room to have your eye examined.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Related Links

Burns to the Eye

<cipublic-spinner variant="large"><span>Loading…</span></cipublic-spinner>

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna

Audiences

Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

Cigna Company Information

About Cigna Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice [PDF] Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap

Disclaimer

Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities  that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details