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Ocular Irritancy Responses to Various pHs of Acids and Bases with and without Irrigation

Author: Murphy JC, Osterberg RE, Seabaugh VM, Bierbower GW

Journal: Toxicology 1982;23(4):281-91

Abstract: Acids and alkalis were instilled into the eyes of 2 groups of rabbits; the eyes of one group were washed with tap water 30 s after exposure. Damage seen in washed and unwashed eyes was not always related to pH. Some strong acids with greater acidity than pH 2.5 produced opacities while 0.3% hydrochloric acid with a pH of 1.28 produced no ocular damage. Phenol (5%) and acetic acid (5%) with pHs greater than 2.5 produced damage equivalent to or greater than that produced by equal concentrations (w/v) of the mineral acids. All alkalis with pHs ranging from 11.5 to 13.5 produced opacities and other ocular damage of different degrees depending upon the alkali and its concentration. For example, low concentrations of some alkalis in the pH range from 11.3 to 12.8 produced no ocular changes. The duration of the corneal opacities produced by phenol, 1% sodium hydroxide, acetic acid and anhydrous sodium carbonate and the onset of corneal opacity produced by 5% sulfuric acid, the weak acids and 1% sodium hydroxide were reduced as a result of washing the test eyes 30 s after instillation of the test material. These data suggest that acidity and alkalinity of the test material are not the only factors to be considered in relation to a substances’ capacity to produce severe ocular injury. The concentration of the test chemical and its period of contact with the eye prior to washing are also important.

An ambulance was dispatched to a local industry for a worker who had been sprayed in both eyes with brake fluid under pressure.  On scene, our paramedic inserted bilateral Morgan Lenses.  He proceeded to flush both eyes simultaneously with approximately 1500 cc N.S.S. on the way to the hospital.  The patient tolerated the entire procedure very well, felt much better, and an examination of the patient's eyes, after the Morgan Lens removal, showed no tissue damage.  The patient had a full recovery with no complications, thanks to the availability and efficiency of the Morgan Lens system.

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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.