Fiberglass is a man-made insulation fiber that features glass as its main fiber-forming substance. While it's not difficult to install fiberglass insulation on your own, there are risks involved. Since fiberglass insulation fibers are quite small, they can easily get onto the skin, into the eyes or be inhaled. Fibers lodged in eyeballs, under eyelids and in the eye corners can cause painful irritation, scratch the eyeball and even cause permanent damage. Cleansing the eyes is necessary to get the fibers out; to do this well, most people will require an assistant.
Things You'll Need
- Hand soap
- Pure water or eyewash
Remove yourself from the environment containing the fiberglass insulation. Move to an area where there are no insulation fibers in the air or on surfaces.
Ensure everyone involved in the eye-cleansing process washes their hands with soap thoroughly, removing any dirt, fiberglass or other harmful matter.
Examine the affected eye closely to determine the number of fiberglass insulation fibers you're dealing with. If there seem to be a small amount, proceed to step four. If you notice a large number of fibers embedded in and around the eye, seek help from a medical professional instead of attempting to remove the fibers on your own.
Place one finger on the skin of the eyelid, behind the eyelashes. Pull the eyelid up with the finger until there is space in and around the eye for a stream of water.
Apply a gentle and steady stream of pure water or eyewash to the underside of the eyelid. Repeat this procedure under the eye and around to the sides of the eye, being very thorough.
Re-examine the eye with the eyelid still pulled back. If fibers remain, repeat step five. Continue to alternate examining and flushing the eye until all the fibers are rinsed out. As long as the cornea isn't scratched, there should be no permanent eye damage.
Visit a medical professional if you aren't able to flush out all the insulation fibers or if eye irritation persists.
Tips & Warnings
- Wear safety goggles with side shields to minimize the chance of getting insulation fibers in the eyes.
- Make sure there are eyewash and safety shower stations nearby when you're working with fiberglass insulation.
- Don't ever try to pluck the fibers out with your fingers or a tool, such as tweezers, brushes or blades; this can cause damage to the eye.
- Don't rub or scratch your eyes while insulation fibers are in them; the fibers could scratch the cornea and cause damage.
- Photo Credit safety at work image by Paula Gent from Fotolia.com
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