Sciencemadness Discussion Board
Not logged in [Login - Register]
Go To Bottom

Printable Version  
 Pages:  1  
Author: Subject: NaOH in the eyes
terrax753
Harmless
*




Posts: 8
Registered: 3-5-2011
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 10-5-2011 at 06:17
NaOH in the eyes


I could not find a board on which this seemed appropriate to post. So, I have chosen to just post it here. Moderators, if you think a different board would be a better place for this, then please, relocate it as you see fit.

Anyway, late yesterday afternoon, around 17:00, I had an accident involving sodium hydroxide.

I had this little 30 mL bottle. In it, I poured a solution of NaOH. It was no more than halfway to saturation.

I was wanting to fill a party balloon with hydrogen. So, I put a bit of aluminium foil into the bottle, then covered the rim with the balloon.

Bad idea. Well, actually, no. I do not think so. It was just my implementation that was bad. I just threw it all together quickly and haphazardly. I had not tested the balloons. I had not tested how much aluminium foil to use.

In short, it basically blew up in my face. Though it had not been inflated that big, the balloon burst. I, standing no more than maybe a meter away, got splattered.

I did not know exactly what to do. So, I just reacted. I rushed to the bathroom and begin to rinse myself. My hands, my face... Especially my eyes. I tried my best to rinse them by splashing them with water.

I ended up filling a bucket with water. I submerged my head in it. Multiple times, I forced my eyes open underwater. For several minutes, I alternated between submersion and splash-rinsing.

Once the discomfort had subsided a bit, I reviewed the bottle of my sodium hydroxide. I was not exactly certain what it meant by "flush the eyes", but I figured it was basically what I had been doing.

I then cleaned up, took a shower, et cetera. By a few hours later, my right eye was still slightly bloodshot. Though, not very badly. Almost unnoticeable.

Late last night, I decided to do a more "proper" flushing of my eyes. For fifteen consecutive minutes, I did my best to keep my eye under running water. It was difficult, but I tried to keep the water running over it.

By the time I was done with the flushing, my eye felt a lot worse. Looked it, too. Very bloodshot. But, I think that is to be expected.

Still, some searching online has me worried. Should I seek medical attention? And, if so, whom?

Does anyone have any experience with this? Aside from further flushing, what more could a doctor do? Are there tests to determine whether I have rid my eye of the sodium hydroxide? With time, will my body be able to naturally dilute and remove any that might still be in there?

I have very mild burns on my left hand and forehead. Following the balloon burst, rinsing my eyes was my first priority. Skin was second.

By far, the burn on my left hand is the more severe of the two. Though, it feels no worse than a bad sunburn. It is now a little pink. And, during last night's shower, it was very sensitive to the hot, pressurized water coming from the showerhead.

The small burn on my forehead just felt kind of like a carpet burn or something. It already seems to be all better.

But what about my eyes? They do not feel that bad. The right seems a little dry. And it is a bit bloodshot. About the same as last night after the fifteen minutes of flushing. (It looked better beforehand.)

Actually, any eye discomfort I have right now seems to be external to the eye. Like the outer corner of the lower lid of my right eye, on the outside.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
UKnowNotWatUDo
Hazard to Self
**




Posts: 96
Registered: 30-6-2010
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 10-5-2011 at 06:35


Medical attention is usually a "better safe than sorry" for of thing, especially considering your particular accident. Although I'm not sure it's entirely necessary to be honest. The only thing I can think of is that the increased discomfort from running your eye in water was from, well, running your eye through water. There may be one thing to research (although this is COMPLETELY hypothetical) and that is that boric acid is the only known acid that is actually "good" for your eyes in certain concentrations and probably only in certain circumstances. But if there is any remaining NaOH in the fluid around your eye it might help. Again this is entirely speculative though. Best of luck to you, let us all know how things turn out...
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Bot0nist
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 1391
Registered: 15-2-2011
Location: Right behind you.
Member Is Offline

Mood: Streching my cotyledons.

[*] posted on 10-5-2011 at 06:39


If you have corneal burns you would know. It would feel as if you had a foreign object like sand in your eyes. Use lubricating drops and see an optometrist if irritation continues. Care for the burns on your skin.

Be smart in your experimentation. Wear gloves and goggles when working with caustic for christ's sake. You are lucky. Also, just throwing together hydroxide and foil to fill a balloon is a little kewlish. Measure your reactants stichometricaly, pre-determine the volume of hydrogen that will be generated, control reaction temperatures, ect. That is science. Be safe when having fun.;)

I imagine that either the high heat of the evolved gas and steam weakened the balloon, or some lye splashed in it. It wouldn't take much to weaken its integrity I imagine.

[Edited on 10-5-2011 by Bot0nist]




U.T.F.S.E. and learn the joys of autodidacticism!


Don't judge each day only by the harvest you reap, but also by the seeds you sow.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
entropy51
Gone, but not forgotten
*****




Posts: 1612
Registered: 30-5-2009
Member Is Offline

Mood: Fissile

[*] posted on 10-5-2011 at 06:48


Quote: Originally posted by terrax753  
Still, some searching online has me worried. Should I seek medical attention? And, if so, whom?
Absolutely. An eye specialist. A base in the eye is potentially much more dangerous than acid in the eye. Acid coagulates the eye protein, which forms a barrier to slow down further penetration into the eye. Base just keeps migrating inward.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
woelen
Administrator
********




Posts: 5017
Registered: 20-8-2005
Location: Netherlands
Member Is Offline

Mood: interested

[*] posted on 10-5-2011 at 06:53


The long flush of 15 minutes, although bringing discomfort, most likely is good. The only thing is that it would be better if you had done it immediately. But your initial reaction of splashing your face and putting your head under water with open eyes also was good.

If your eye sight is not damaged and the feeling of discomfort has dimished already, then I would not worry too much anymore. Right now you don't have any NaOH in your eyes, otherwise you certainly would feel it. Just keep an eye on it. If tomorrow there still is discomfort, or if discomfort increases again, then seek medical attention.

I once had a somewhat similar accident, although not with a chemistry experiment. I was cleaning a roof from a garden house, which was painted at the lower side. It was very dirty and it had to be repainted. I rinsed it with 5% ammonia, working above my head. A big drop of ammonia fel precisely into my eye and this burned increadibly. It was terribly painful. I immediately rinsed with a lot of tap water for a few minutes and this relieved me from the pain. I only had a red eye for a day or so, but no adverse effects on quality of sight and besides the rinsing I have not taken any further action.

[Edited on 10-5-11 by woelen]




The art of wondering makes life worth living...
Want to wonder? Look at http://www.oelen.net/science
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
m1tanker78
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 504
Registered: 5-1-2011
Location: Texas
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 10-5-2011 at 06:53


Water under the bridge but goggles!

EYES: Buy some eye drops or if you have a sterile saline solution, use that to flush.

SKIN: The 'burns' on your skin will probably linger for up to 3 weeks. NaOH dissolves the oils in your skin so keep moisturized with an oil-based cream or similar.

No substitute for medical advice so if you don't notice an improvement, seek medical attention.

Tank
View user's profile View All Posts By User
UKnowNotWatUDo
Hazard to Self
**




Posts: 96
Registered: 30-6-2010
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 10-5-2011 at 06:55


I've heard that before about acids and bases on exposure to eyes. Entropy51 are you a doctor? If you don't mind me asking of course. I thought I remembered you saying that you were at some point in time on this forum but I don't remember where. But terrax753 if that is indeed true I would go to a doctor immediately. None of our speculating beats a doctor's warning to go see a doctor.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
entropy51
Gone, but not forgotten
*****




Posts: 1612
Registered: 30-5-2009
Member Is Offline

Mood: Fissile

[*] posted on 10-5-2011 at 07:31


Quote: Originally posted by UKnowNotWatUDo  
I've heard that before about acids and bases on exposure to eyes. Entropy51 are you a doctor?
I am a physician, but not an eye specialist. The only way to determine if further treatment is needed to have an eye specialist examine the eye. We can only guess whether or not there is need for further treatment, and eye sight is nothing to gamble with.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Sedit
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 1900
Registered: 23-11-2008
Member Is Offline

Mood: Manic Expressive

[*] posted on 10-5-2011 at 08:16


I would have quickly doused myself in Vinegar to neutralize the NaOH, I have a bottle of it just in case of emergancys. Yes AcOH all over ones face would not be pleasent but then again neither would blindness.



Knowledge is useless to useless people...

"I see a lot of patterns in our behavior as a nation that parallel a lot of other historical processes. The fall of Rome, the fall of Germany — the fall of the ruling country, the people who think they can do whatever they want without anybody else's consent. I've seen this story before."~Maynard James Keenan
View user's profile View All Posts By User
terrax753
Harmless
*




Posts: 8
Registered: 3-5-2011
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 10-5-2011 at 08:27


You guys who are recommending that I seek an eye specialist, exactly what kind of doctor are you suggesting? A search for eye doctors in my area brings up hundreds of listings, many of whom appear to be strictly glasses/contacts-oriented.

As of eighteen hours later, my vision still seems fine. Aside from the bottom white area of my right eye (which remains quite bloodshot), the rest looks fine. As normal. My pupils, my irides, everything but the lower half of the white area of my right eye.

Somewhere online, I read about there being a risk for glaucoma or cataracts. And regardless, my vision is something for which I care greatly. I am quite concerned about it becoming damaged in any way.

(You had better believe my protective measures will be much greater in the future.)
View user's profile View All Posts By User
entropy51
Gone, but not forgotten
*****




Posts: 1612
Registered: 30-5-2009
Member Is Offline

Mood: Fissile

[*] posted on 10-5-2011 at 08:38


Quote: Originally posted by terrax753  
You guys who are recommending that I seek an eye specialist, exactly what kind of doctor are you suggesting? A search for eye doctors in my area brings up hundreds of listings, many of whom appear to be strictly glasses/contacts-oriented.
Those are optometrists and will be of little help. You want an ophthalmologist. If there are no eye specialists in your area it would be better to see a family practitioner or internal medicine doctor than to do nothing.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
blogfast25
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 5476
Registered: 3-2-2008
Location: Old Blighty
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 10-5-2011 at 09:39


Even without the accident filling up a balloon with H2 generated that way is stupid. Entrained micro-droplets of NaOH solution would have gotten into your balloon, attacking the balloon’s latex rubber immediately. You need to put together a decent hydrogen generator that delivers washed but dry hydrogen and can do at some minimum pressure (otherwise your generator will leak or fail during delivery).
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
The WiZard is In
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 1617
Registered: 3-4-2010
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 10-5-2011 at 13:46
Does your health insurance cover symblepharon?


Quote: Originally posted by terrax753  
I could not find a board on which this seemed appropriate to post. So, I have chosen to just post it here. Moderators, if you think a different board would be a better place for this, then please, relocate it as you see fit.


Proctor &c.
Chemical Hazrds of the Workplace
JB Lippincott 2nd ed. 1988


Sodium-hydroxide-burns.jpg - 315kB

If you can read this you are probable Ok. However, I would see
an eye doctor.

View user's profile View All Posts By User
Neil
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 556
Registered: 19-3-2008
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 10-5-2011 at 15:05


Some chemicals are capable of producing damage that does not show up for at least five to six days. Without inspection using a dye this damage is not detectable until is has progressed to the point where it becomes permanent, worth getting checked out.


You can also check the pH of your eye by dipping a piece of test paper in a tear, which is what they do in the emergency room round here. (been there, done that)
View user's profile View All Posts By User
ziqquratu
Hazard to Others
***




Posts: 213
Registered: 15-11-2002
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 10-5-2011 at 16:44


First off, as far as seeking medical advice about something like this - if they were my eyes, I wouldn't be asking for advice on a web forum if I had the slightest hesitation about their health... If you've ANY concern about your eyes, of all things, why risk it?


Secondly,
Quote: Originally posted by Sedit  
I would have quickly doused myself in Vinegar to neutralize the NaOH, I have a bottle of it just in case of emergancys. Yes AcOH all over ones face would not be pleasent but then again neither would blindness.

Please do not use your body as a chemical reactor (yes, obviously it's designed as one, but it's very finely tuned!). The appropriate treatment for almost ALL spills to the skin, eyes or mucous membranes is extensive flushing with water (not hot water, not ice water - just cool tap water).

It's counterproductive (and potentially could cause more harm) to treat a (relatively) localised high concentration of (in this example) base by dousing a larger area of your body with acid, no mater how weak or dilute - particularly once your skin has already been damaged by that base.

There are a very small number of exceptions - HF, for example, which must be treated (with calcium gluconate, NOT a base!), but purely because it penetrates the skin, so systemic complications must be prevented. For pretty much anything that does not enter the body, however, it's far safer to simply remove any contaminated clothing and wash the affected area thoroughly with cool, running water (my training always recommended at least ten minutes - or until the ambulance arrives and advises otherwise!). Then, if required, go to a doctor - or, if you don't feel you need to go immediately, pay attention to your injury to ensure that the need doesn't arise.

And, most importantly, NEVER put anything - particularly reactive chemicals! - in or near your eyes, unless specifically intended for that purpose (eye drops and so forth).
View user's profile View All Posts By User
BromicAcid
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 2468
Registered: 13-7-2003
Location: Wisconsin
Member Is Offline

Mood: Anxious

[*] posted on 10-5-2011 at 17:27


Sodium hydroxide did a number on my eyes, always take care when working with bases. The effects were not immediately noticeable, I only realized in time that my eyesight had been shot.



Shamelessly plugging my attempts at writing fiction: http://www.robvincent.org
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
The WiZard is In
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 1617
Registered: 3-4-2010
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 10-5-2011 at 18:58


Quote: Originally posted by BromicAcid  
Sodium hydroxide did a number on my eyes, always take care when working with bases. The effects were not immediately noticeable, I only realized in time that my eyesight had been shot.

Reminds me of someone I knew who slowly lost some of their
vision by glass blowing without using dididium lens.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
terrax753
Harmless
*




Posts: 8
Registered: 3-5-2011
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 10-5-2011 at 20:03


Okay... So I went ahead and got my eyes checked by an ophthalmologist. Nothing major. Just a slight corneal burn (the right eye, no surprise).

The doctor did not even think he needed to see me again. He just gave me some soothing eye drops, and that was it. A half hour, and I was on my way.

Ironically, the packaging of the eye drops says they may contain sodium hydroxide (or hydrochloric acid) to adjust pH. Heh...

No? Well, I found it amusing... The very substance I got in my eye in the first place.

So I got lucky. No major damage. Now I have made my mistake, learned from it, and can see to it that such does not happen again.

[Edited on 11-5-2011 by terrax753]
View user's profile View All Posts By User
aquaregia
Harmless
*




Posts: 41
Registered: 1-5-2011
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 11-5-2011 at 00:31
READ THIS


As some mentioned, goggles is part of the PPE to be worn.
But, it is also a good idea to have an EYEWASH STATION handy. I always have one at hands reach when working with corrosive substances. I got mine from work, but I am sure you can get some online at radiospares or at plenty of stores. They come in different sizes and format.
The reason why I mention it is because, by the time you reach the bathroom (a few seconds) the damage done to your eyes by some nasty chemical could already be irreversable in some cases.I might be paranoï but you can never be too safe (if there is such a thing).
Time is of the essence in those accidents.:(
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Neil
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 556
Registered: 19-3-2008
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 11-5-2011 at 06:01


Did he exam your eyes with a dye?

View user's profile View All Posts By User
terrax753
Harmless
*




Posts: 8
Registered: 3-5-2011
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 11-5-2011 at 06:21


Quote: Originally posted by Neil  
Did he exam your eyes with a dye?


What do you mean?

He dripped some yellow-colored stuff into my eyes before inspecting them. I think it was some sort anesthetic.

But it did allow him to see my mild corneal burn. So, I guess he dyed my eyes.

Do you mean something else?
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Neil
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 556
Registered: 19-3-2008
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 11-5-2011 at 06:34


Nope that's what I meant. The dye shows penetrating ulcerations, without the dye the pitting damage can be invisible until it's to late.

View user's profile View All Posts By User
m1tanker78
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 504
Registered: 5-1-2011
Location: Texas
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 11-5-2011 at 07:00


Good to hear no major damage. I think you did the right thing by seeing the Doc. Gives you some additional peace of mind, if nothing else.

Realistically, the average experimenter/enthusiast isn't going to have an eye wash station or eye wash bottle around. That said, you should keep a bottle or canteen of clean water at hand (even if you wear glasses/goggles). If any corrosive substance finds its way in or around your eye(s), you can immediately irrigate your eyes as follows:

Let's suppose the left eye first. Holding the canteen in your right hand, place the mouth of the bottle on the bridge of your nose and lean forward. Turn your head to the right, allowing the water to trickle down your [closed] eye. After that, repeat but this time, carefully pry your eye open (with the left hand - if necessary). Simply switch the bottle to your left hand for the right eye and repeat the above. Finish flushing your eyes and any other affected areas at a faucet or shower (if available).

This was a basic procedure we practiced periodically in the military for NBC attacks. In a home lab/shop setting, this can buy precious time. It's difficult to clumsily stumble to a faucet with near zero visibility!

It's very easy to practice, too. It becomes second nature even in a stressful situation and can be performed in a matter of 6 seconds for both eyes (with practice).

Tank
View user's profile View All Posts By User
The WiZard is In
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 1617
Registered: 3-4-2010
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 11-5-2011 at 10:37
Face protection


Face-masks.jpg - 745kB


Yellow eyeball-dye .... reminds me. Bunch of years ago
I notice a v/ small black spot when reading. Off to a Retina
Specialist. The 3rd round of tests ... tech dilates my eyes
for the 3rd time. Now I can see my ears.

Tech. sez - I am going to inject this dye (IV) it will turn you urine
yellow. Put head up to la device... flash! Felt like my head blew
up like a balloon!

Next day.... turn you urine yellow WOW. This would be
great at a pool-party. Hey everyone ... WATCH THIS!
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Mr. Wizard
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 1037
Registered: 30-3-2003
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 11-5-2011 at 15:56


I second the idea of practice when it comes to emergency procedures. If you have done a procedure a few times, you won't have to think about it when the real thing comes along.

Know where the eyewash station is, and the exits. Be able to find them with your eyes closed, or smoke obscuring your vision. When you find yourself going through hell, keep on moving.

I saw they eyes of a drunk man at a bar who had a lye solution thrown in his face by a girlfriend. He didn't even try to wash it out. His eyes looked like two pieces of soap.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
 Pages:  1  

  Go To Top