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Chemical Burns of the Eye

Author: Denise Ramponi, DNP, FNP-C, ENP-BC, FAEN, FAANP, CEN

Publication: Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal, Volume 39, Number 3, pp. 193-198

Chemical burns of the eye are one of the most common eye injuries.  The extent of the ocular surface damage is influenced by the type, temperature, volume, and pH of the corrosive substance and duration of exposure.  Limbal ischemia found on eye assessment is the primary determinant of eventual visual outcome.  Eye irrigation must be instituted immediately at the scene of exposure and continued in the emergency department to reduce visual impairment.  Traditional lactated Ringer’s and normal saline have been used as irrigation fluids, although one systemic review demonstrates similar outcomes with other irrigation fluids.  The Morgan Lens is a device that can be utilized to allow the provider to perform “hands-free” eye irrigation.  Complications of chemical burns are more common with alkali burns as these substances destroy the corneal epithelium and allow this corrosive base substance to penetrate deeper into the cornea.

Three Army soldiers were on their way to us following an explosion of an improvised device.  The driver had goggles on and suffered extensive facial trauma and all three had eye injuries from the debris that hit them.  We got bilateral Morgan Lenses in all three and flushed each with several liters of LR.  Followed with antibiotics, they were rebandaged and on an emergency air evacuation that evening.  These men were grateful for the care they received.  The technicians and physicians here are thankful that everyone knew what to do to get the lens system set up and running.  I am grateful to you for the opportunity to access the class online and ability to present it shortly after we arrived.  One of the others did have a corneal laceration that we could assess after flushing.  We feel confident that all will have the best outcomes thanks to the Morgan Lens use.


We also had a patient who experienced an electrical explosion (a generator) to his face.  We used Morgan Lenses to irrigate his eyes and sent him on an air evacuation flight to Germany.  He has since returned to duty and is doing well with minimal residual sight loss.                                   

Military Registered Nurse (Active Duty)

MorTan Inc.

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Why Use The Morgan Lens?

The Morgan Lens is used in 90% of hospital emergency departments in the USA and can be inserted in less than 20 seconds. There simply is no other "hands-free" method of eye irrigation. Nothing else frees medical personnel to treat other injuries or to transport the patient while irrigation is underway. Nothing is more effective at treating ocular chemical, thermal, and actinic burns or removing non-embedded foreign bodies, even when the patient's eyes are closed tightly. Its design makes it simple and straightforward to use so minimal training is required.