Immediate steps and recommendations for dealing with gypsum plaster exposure in the eye
Gypsum plaster, a common construction material, can pose hazards to your eyes if not handled properly. Although relatively harmless in small amounts, prolonged or high-intensity exposure to the eye can lead to serious discomfort, irritation, and even eye injury. Below is a guide to dealing with gypsum plaster exposure in the eye.
Avoid rubbing your eye when you get plaster in it, as it may exacerbate the irritation and potentially cause a corneal abrasion. Blink your eyes several times to stimulate tear production, which may help wash out some of the plaster particles.
Using an eye wash if one is available, or clean water, gently rinse your eye for at least 15 minutes. It is crucial to use only water or saline, not any other liquid or eye drops, as these may cause further complications. Make sure to hold your eyelids open to ensure thorough rinsing.
After initial rinsing, you should seek professional medical attention as soon as you can. Call 111 for advice and let them know what your eye has been exposed to, the duration of eye washing, and any current symptoms. They will guide you towards the nearest suitable medical facility, or may advise you to visit your GP or an optometrist.
In some cases, the NHS 111 service might recommend that you go to a local accident & emergency (A&E) department or urgent treatment centre if they assess the injury to be potentially severe.
Follow up care and prevention
After receiving medical care, make sure to adhere to your healthcare professional’s advice regarding follow-up checks and treatment. This may include application of prescribed antibiotic ointments or drops, and over-the-counter pain medication for discomfort.
It is critical to learn from the incident and take preventive measures to avoid future accidents. If you frequently handle gypsum plaster, invest in quality safety eyewear compliant with BS EN 166 (the British standard for personal eye protection). Regularly clean and maintain your safety equipment to ensure its effectiveness.
Moreover, develop good safety habits like washing hands before touching your eyes, and keeping your work area clean and free of dust.
Exposure to gypsum plaster in the eye can be a distressing experience, but immediate and appropriate action can significantly reduce the impact. Remember, your eyes are sensitive and irreplaceable; the best strategy is always prevention. Stay safe by practicing responsible work habits and using proper protective equipment.
While this guide provides an initial approach, nothing replaces the advice of healthcare professionals. Always follow the advice given by your healthcare provider and seek medical attention immediately after exposure to protect your eyes.