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Author: Frank R. Burns, MD and Christopher A. Paterson, PhD, DSc.
Publication: Occupational Health & Safety (April 1989)
Chemical burns to the eye are among the most urgent of ocular emergencies. The clinical outcome of the injury is directly related to the expediency with which treatment is begun. Copious irrigation is the most important emergency treatment of the chemically burned eye. This irrigation should begin immediately at the scene of the accident with any nontoxic liquid. Removal of any particulate matter must be done to prevent further ocular damage. The subsequent therapy is directed at the treatment of secondary sequelae and at preserving the globe to surgically rehabilitate the eye. Many of the treatments, which are used in the intermediate and late phases of the injury, are used to prevent corneal ulceration and perforation. These are the most difficult sequelae to threat in alkali injuries; thus, preventing the progression to this stage is of the utmost importance. Again the immediate and continuous irrigation of the eye may help accomplish this goal.
The availability of emergency eyewash equipment dispensing a safe, preserved, pH-balanced, physiologically correct solution in the industrial, agricultural and even the home setting is a necessity. The education of employees and family members in the proper technique of irrigating the eye following a chemical burn is also of extreme importance. Immediate irrigation of the eye, continued during rapid transport to a medical care facility, minimizes the damage to the eye and enhances the eventual clinical outcome.
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.Registered Nurse (New Hampshire)
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.