eye splash with cold cooking oil
February 26, 2010 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Any special first aid for getting splashed in the eye with cooking oil? (not hot oil, just room temp)

My friend was having trouble opening a bottle of cooking oil, and it splashed up all over his face and shirt. It was room temperature, not hot or anything, so it's not a burn. He rinsed his eye with water for a bit but he feels his vision is a little blurry in that eye.

Is there any special first aid he should do, other than more rinsing?

How about eye drops? Advisable or not?

posted by leticia to Health & Fitness (14 answers total)
I've searched for some Materials Safety Data Sheets on vegetable oil. One says: "Check for and remove any contact lenses. Immediately flush eyes with running water for at least 15 minutes, keeping eyelids open. Seek medical attention."

Rinse the eye out for longer.
posted by grouse at 11:35 AM on February 26, 2010

Thank you. I couldn't find anything online about getting cold oil splashed in your eye. It was all about hot oil, i.e., burns.

Now he tells me he doesn't think much got in his eye, that it was mainly on his eyelid... I'll tell him to rinse some more

posted by leticia at 11:40 AM on February 26, 2010

Rinse again, with saline solution if you have it, but remember that oil is not water soluble and it will just take some some (a few hours at most) for his vision to return to normal.

Maybe take a hot shower?
posted by BobbyDigital at 11:43 AM on February 26, 2010

The general advice for when you get something in your eye is to wash it. Then wash it some more and then when you think you're done, wash it even more. 15 minutes is a long time.

Generally it is fairly difficult to do a good job yourself when washing your eyes out - you automatically blink and shut them under the running water. It can help to have someone do this for you - this is not particularly fun for the person whose eyes are getting tended to.

The act of washing your eyes will make them somewhat painful and blurry. Your friend's blurriness may be based on the washing not on the oil.
posted by sciencegeek at 11:45 AM on February 26, 2010

It should pass. There are eye medicines made with oils & greases all the time. As long as the oil is not causing irritation, it'll pass eventually. Rinsing is fine but very uncomfortable when using tap water.
posted by chairface at 11:50 AM on February 26, 2010

IANAD but if it was me and it was organic oil, not a mineral oil.. i would not worry. i would expect my vision to be a bit blurry due to oil being in my eye, but I would not think it a problem as my tears would naturally wash it clean after a while.
posted by Frasermoo at 11:56 AM on February 26, 2010

Yuor profile doesn't say, but if you're in the US, you can try calling your local Poison Control Center. 800-222-1222 is the generic number.
posted by janell at 12:03 PM on February 26, 2010

Try saline. Pure water stings when you put it in your eye, but saline has the salinity of tears, so you can wash for a lot longer without discomfort.
posted by valkyryn at 12:04 PM on February 26, 2010

For washing them out, get into the shower facing the wall the shower head is on and let the water hit the forehead and head (which should be clean first!) and stream down the face. This negates the pressure from the shower head and the warmth will have a chance to calm them down. If they can, open both eyes to reduce strain on the muscles. To breath just push the lower jaw in and up, so the lower lip is up near the middle of the roof of the mouth, then breath through the mouth lightly. The water will fall down from the upper lip to the ground.

If they've swam underwater at all with their eyes open they're feel right at home. At least, I did.
posted by jwells at 12:10 PM on February 26, 2010

I would wash it with saline, but cooking oil really isn't going to hurt his eyes or his vision long-term. His vision is probably blurry from a combination of his cornea being covered in oil, and from washing out his eyes and face a lot, which probably stimulates tear production. I am unusually prone to freak accidents, so me and my lab eyewash station are long-standing acquaintances; whenever I wash my eyes out, the combination of water and pressure makes my vision a little blurry for a couple of hours.

As a couple others have mentioned, oils, greases, etc. are frequently used as a base for medicines that get put in your eye. Poison Control is a little bit extreme for this case, I think; if it had been used motor oil or something, then it would be sensible to call them.
posted by kataclysm at 12:30 PM on February 26, 2010

I'd suggest that poison control is never too extreme when you're unsure. That's why they're there, right?

"The Poison Help hotline at 1-800-222-1222 serves as a key medical information resource and helps reduce costly emergency room visits. "
posted by CharlesV42 at 1:16 PM on February 26, 2010

I was once splashed in the eye with mineral oil while preparing a microscope slide. I wasn't wearing PPE. Dumb.

This happened in a lab at a hospital, so I immediately flushed my eye with water for a very, very long time at the closest eye wash station.

Then they took me to the hospital's emergency room, as was protocol for a 'lab safety incident.' They flushed it some more, with saline, and checked my cornea for scratches, and sent me home.

My vision in that one eye was uncomfortably blurry for a few hours afterward, but I suffered no long-term effects.
posted by Seppaku at 2:39 PM on February 26, 2010

You might could try making a weak solution of no-tears baby shampoo and water and washing with that. It was recommended to me by my optometrist to help with styes (apparently the oil glands at the base of my eyelashes are overactive). I know it's not the same situation, but it might help?
posted by fancyoats at 2:48 PM on February 26, 2010

Thanks all for the help. He did a better eyewash by climbing in the shower and holding his eyelid open under the streaming water which helped a lot. After a couple hours, as suggested, it did clear up.

(Thanx esp to kataclysm -- i am sure I am like you, I am totally prone to freak accidents and your personal experience was enlightening and comforting :o) )

Oh, yeah, we're not in the US, actually Americans abroad, which is why I turned to crowdsourcing the answer -- as I understand, not typically the approach of choice when dealing with potential medical injury!!!

thanks for all your help
posted by leticia at 3:50 PM on February 26, 2010

« Older Hiveminded Social Experiments   |   Compare and Contrast Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.