(3) Eyes--chemical burns. Chemical burns constitute a medical emergency
and require immediate care. If sterile water is available, use it to flush the chemical
substance out of the eyes. Use tap water if no sterile water is available. Wash the eyes
for at least five minutes. Keep a steady stream of water flowing from the medial to the
lateral part of the eye. If the chemical was an alkali, continue to flush the eyes for at
least fifteen minutes. Alkali substances continue to burn tissues even when the
substance has been diluted. After you have thoroughly flushed the eyes, close the
patient's eyelids and apply a loose sterile dressing. Administer narcotic analgesics as
needed for pain and evacuate the patient.
Figure 4-1. Treatment for burns to the eyes.