Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Eye damage?

Chiron - 14-5-2019 at 01:20

I feel embarrassed to bring this up, but I have to.

In an at home experiment through distance education, I was instructed to directly combust a tiny fragment of magnesium metal and record the results. The directions CLEARLY stated multiple times to wear sunglasses, but I forgot. Now I have a tiny aberration in my vision. Because the point of light from the combustion was very small, the damage to my retina is also small... but it's noticeable.

It sort of looks like the flash you see in your eye after flash photography, except much smaller, and it's not going away. I know that burning Mg produces UV light.

What kind of healing time should I expect on this? Lesson learned. Sclotomas that form due to staring directly into the Sun for extended periods take 6-12 months to heal, and there is night vision loss in the mean time. I'm guessing this won't take as light?


j_sum1 - 14-5-2019 at 03:23

How big was the Mg? How close were you?
I would think you'd be ok in a few hours. But if it still seems funny in a day or two, book in at an eye specialist.

Ubya - 14-5-2019 at 03:24

i don't know if any of us had ever this kind of injury, your wisest option is to get checked by an ophthalmologist, he has the equipment and the knowledge to help you

Chemi Pharma - 14-5-2019 at 07:42

If the magnesium burning didn't get into your eyes and your symptoms is only derivative of the burning flash, you might be able to be cured in some days. What happened to you is the same that occurs with welding operators. With the time and without dark glasses protection they may end up getting blind. But just one exposition isn't enough to do that at all.

Keep calm. Day by day the flash point in your vision will get smaller and smaller, until you don't notice any symptoms anymore. My advise is to use saline solution in your eyes a few times a day. It will accelerate your cure.

karlosĀ³ - 14-5-2019 at 11:59

When I was very young, I ignited a piece of magnalia and after two days that annoying flash point was gone, no lasting damage.

Fulmen - 14-5-2019 at 12:17

Saline solution could help UV-burned corneas, but I doubt it will have any effect on the retina. I doubt you'll suffer any lasting problems, I've burned kilos of Mg-turnings over the years without any injury. One time I ignited a full grocery bag sprinkled with sodium chlorate, that one blinded me completely for 5-10 seconds.

CharlieA - 14-5-2019 at 12:42

Have you consulted and had an examination by an ophthalmologist? I think that would be a prudent course of action. Although there are certainly many people on this forum who are knowledgeable of many subjects, I believe you need the services of a licensed professional in ophthalmology (not just optometry). I think that you should consider most if not all of the replies to your post as just the opinions of concerned people.

j_sum1 - 14-5-2019 at 12:54

To put it in context, burning magnesium ribbon was once used as a camera flash.

But do report back and tell us what the opthamologist says.

WangleSpong5000 - 27-5-2019 at 20:49

Go to a specialist. An opthamologist... Any statement here would be pure conjecture but hey, it could be much worse. It could have been NaOH solution, direct magnified sunlight, infected Dog shit or ocular herpes (48hrs to seek treatment before possible permenant blindness... my dad was an optom)

Velzee - 30-5-2019 at 10:25

Any updates?

vmelkon - 4-6-2019 at 09:09

Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
To put it in context, burning magnesium ribbon was once used as a camera flash.

But do report back and tell us what the opthamologist says.

Some used magnesium. Some used zirconium. But those flashes last less than a second.

When I was a teen, my chemistry set told me to cut off a small piece of Mg and burn it. The light was intense. The manual did not say to wear glasses or that a lot of UV light is emitted. (That was back in ~1994)
Anyway, my eyes were fine and are still fine.