Welding Flash - Arc Eye 11 Home Remedies That Work Fast
Welding flash-arc eye is like sunburn on the cornea of the eye.
It is also known by many names such as welding flash, welding eye flash burn, welding flash burn, welder’s flash, arc eye or flash burns while doctors call it ‘photokeratitis’.
Arc eye happens when a person’s eyes get exposed to high-intensity UV (ultraviolet) light from the flash of the torch while welding.
The cornea is the transparent tissue that protects the front of the eye and the most affected when one gets to have the welder’s flash.
Because the cornea is very delicate, it can dry easily. Once the flash burn sets in, your eyes may turn red, get inflamed and feel disturbingly irritated.
Anyone can suffer from an arc eye condition.
The cause can be from natural or artificial UV radiation like from the reflection of sunlight on the snow, from direct sunlight, from flood lamps used on photography or like mentioned, from the flash of the torch which welders get exposed to almost every day.
Why Some People Develop Welder’s Flash Arc Eye Burns?
Welding flash burn can happen due to the welders’ lack of eye protection, using eye protective gears without the appropriate filter for UV light or just getting careless while doing their jobs.
Generally, both eyes get affected with welder’s flash burns.
The bad news is if the symptoms go untreated, your eyes can be vulnerable to infection which can lead to more serious problems and ultimately to the loss of vision.
The Arc Eye Welding Flash Symptoms?
Usually, it would take several hours before the welding flash symptoms appear.
It may depend on the amount of UV light your eyes get exposed to or on the duration of your exposure to UV light.
In most cases about 6 to 12 hours after exposure, you will feel the consequence of suffering from the condition.
However, if you get exposed to intense UV radiation for a much longer period, the symptoms may appear in just a few hours.
The most usual symptoms you will experience once you have the welding eye flash burn is that your eyes can become itchy or painful until they slowly turn red.
Most often, you will feel the gritty feeling inside your eyes like there’s a grain of sand in them.
Your eyes will also become very sensitive to light due to the inflammation of the cornea.
Will Arc Flash Burns Heal Itself?
Generally, the symptoms of welding flash will resolve itself naturally given the proper rest and treatment in a few days.
But if you have a severe case of arc eye and without flash burn treatment the tendency of the eyes to heal itself will be slow.
A worst case scenario, an infection may set in and this could eventually bring serious damage to your eyes.
Ways To Avoid Welding Flash
In welding, there is what we call the welding arc.
This is the flash that occurs during the welding action so the nearer you are in the arc the higher the UV radiation your eyes will absorb.
Even if you look at the solar eclipse without eye protection, you will still get the flash burn caused by the UV radiation that emanates from the sun.
So it is unfortunate that some welders still weld without the proper eye gear and straining their eyes to the fullest.
So is there any ways to avoid getting the welding flash burn? Actually, there are some precautions you can do to avoid having the arc eye.
Flash Burn Preventive Tips
Always wear goggles that are specifically made for welders and coated fully with UV light protection.
Only wear welder’s masks fitted with filter shade and have passed government safety and eye protection standards.
For extra protection, wear sunglasses coated with UVA (Ultraviolet A) and UVB (Ultraviolet B) protection inside your welder’s masks especially if you are welding the whole day.
These glasses can block these 2 types of radiation that can harm your cornea.
Not only that you need Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in your welding work but also you must be properly attired for the job.
This is to protect yourself from being exposed to elements that are usually found inside the welding shop.
So consider having the following:
Respirators against oxides and fumes.
Aprons or fire/heat resistant clothing against radiation and burns.
Ear muffs or plugs against loud noise.
Insulated gloves and safety shoes against electric shock, burns or fires.
What To Do With Irritated Eyes
For some, having irritated dry eyes cannot be avoided.
This happens when your eyes get exposed to repetitive flash exposures throughout the day.
Even when wearing proper eye gear, the eyes tend to get tired and become dry.
So as welders do their job, it becomes normal for some welders to have red, tired eyes.
So the best thing that welders do is to always rest their eyes after a few hours of welding.
Our eyes are the most sensitive parts of our body.
This is why it is essential to know some welding flash home remedies which you can apply if ever you develop the welding flash-arc eye symptoms.
The home remedies we will recommend to you today have been proven to be effective against easing discomfort, redness and reduce the swelling in your eyes and can even make your eyes feel more relaxed.
However, let us remind you that these home remedies can be the best relief only during the first signs of flash burn.
So if symptoms persist, you still have to see your doctor.
You can also use these remedies along with the medications that your doctor will prescribe you in case you want to relieve the pain or relax your eyes.
11 Best Home Remedies To Treat Symptoms of Welding Flash Burn
1. Face Towels or Cloths
You need two wet cloths or clean face towels and cold water in a bowl.
Cold water can provide a cooling effect on both of your strained eyes leaving your eyes more relaxed and refreshed.
This is one quick flash burn treatment you can do at home for instant relief.
Dip the two wet cloths in iced water and wring it to remove excess water.
Cover each eye with the towels while lying down and leave it for 10 to 12 minutes.
Repeat the process twice a day or as needed.
2. Ice Pack
Use an ice pack if your eyes feel like burning or feeling pain.
The cold pack can bring quick relief to your inflamed cornea and can relax the corneal nerves.
If you have 2 ice packs, put them over your eyes for about 5 minutes. For a single ice pack, 5 minutes interval on each eye would be enough.
Repeat as much as you want until the burning sensation has subsided.
3. Tea Bags
Tea leaves have powerful medicinal properties known as antioxidants.
It also has anti-inflammatory properties to reduce inflammation thus can lessen the pain you feel inside your eyes.
Once applied you can quickly feel the relaxing effect.
Dip the tea bags in hot water and squeeze to remove excess water.
Let the tea bags cool out and put them inside the freezer for about 15 minutes.
Cover both of your eyes with the teabags.
Do this every time you feel pain in your eyes.
4. Banana Pulp
The pulp of bananas is rich with Vitamin B12 which helps damaged tissues to heal faster.
It can also reduce the sensation of dryness in your eyes and can relax your eyes including your eyelids.
Among fruits that are usually found at home, bananas can provide the best remedy in treating symptoms of welding eye flash burn.
Peel the banana and mash the pulp thoroughly until there’s no lumps.
Put the pulp in a clean container and keep it inside the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes.
Apply the mashed pulp on both eyelids and keep it there for about 5 minutes.
Wipe it clean with a clean damp cloth after.
5. Cucumber Slices
Cucumber is rich with vitamins and minerals while it also has high water content.
It also contains active cooling properties and can reduce redness and inflammation even inside the eyes.
Cut the cucumber to produce 2 thick slices.
Put the slices inside the fridge for about 10 minutes.
Place them over your eyes and leave it there for 10-15 minutes.
Repeat this thrice daily or whenever your eyes feel like burning.
6. Rose Water
Rose water can serve as a coolant that can alleviate the burning sensation or pain inside your eyes that are afflicted with welder’s flash-arc eye.
It can also greatly reduce the inflammation and itching and can provide the much-needed relief whenever your eyes feel the discomfort.
Remember to buy only without the additives.
Use two cotton balls and dip them in the rose water.
Squeeze to remove excess liquid.
Place the cotton ball over each eye and keep them there for 10 minutes.
Milk contains powerful beneficial enzymes that can heal broken tissues and reduce inflammation due to welder’s flash.
It is also safe inside the eyes and able to lubricate and heal the corneal epithelial tissues. Other than these, it can provide a cooling effect on already irritated eyes.
Dip 2 cotton balls on the milk (preferably pasteurized).
Squeeze to remove excess milk.
Keep the cotton balls inside the fridge for about 5 minutes.
Put them over your eyes.
Potatoes are good alternatives in treating wounds because of its amazing components in reducing inflammation.
For use as eye patches, it can also reduce inflammation on the eye by offering a cooling effect and reducing the pain, irritation, and itchiness.
For this, you need two washcloths and a bowl of water.
Peel one potato and grate it.
Dip the washcloth into the bowl and squeeze to take out excess water.
Put about one lump of grated potato on each washcloth and secure it.
Refrigerate the washcloths with grated potato for about 5 minutes.
Place the cooled washcloths on each eye and keep it there for 10 to 15 minutes.
Do this procedure twice or thrice a day or depending on your needs.
Use new lumps for every use.
9. Vicks Vaporub
Vicks Vaporub can provide cooling effect and relief to many types of body discomfort including the eyes.
If you suffer from welding eye symptoms this can provide a therapeutic effect on your painful eyes.
It is also very handy you can take it anywhere and can apply it without the need to lie down.
Apply the ointment thinly just under the affected eyes but avoid never to get it inside the eyes.
Close your eyes for a few seconds to avoid the sudden release of menthol then open your eyes slowly.
You may have teary eyes once the vapor from the menthol comes in contact into your eyes but this good as your eyes get cleaned up.
Wipe off the ointment slowly with a tissue after 30 – 40 minutes.
Repeat application as you want.
10. Almond Oil
Almond oil is rich with Vitamin E that protects the skin from damaging UV light.
As such, it can also be used as one of the most reliable welding flash home remedies in minimizing irritation, pain, burning sensation and itchiness on the affected eyes while reducing the inflammation and pressure inside the eyes.
Pour a good amount of almond oil on a small cup.
Using your clean finger apply the oil right over your eyelids and under the eyes but avoid dripping it inside the eye.
Leave it as long as you want or until you can feel the relaxing effect.
Do the procedure twice a day.
11. Cold Water from the Fridge
The use of cold water is actually the quickest way to find relief for your itchy and irritated eyes if you run out of ice in your fridge.
It can also reduce the inflammation and relaxes the nerves inside your eyes.
Cold water can be readily available almost anywhere and you can apply the cold treatment anytime whenever you feel the burning sensation.
Wash your hands first then take clean cold water from the fridge.
Pour the cold water in your cupped hand, angle your head towards the ground and put your hand with the cold water over your eye for about 3 minutes.
Do the same on the other eye.
Do this thrice a day with few hours interval.
Now, all of the welding flash home remedies we have discussed above are mainly applied on the eyelids or around the eyes to relax the muscles surrounding the eyes.
However, we also should be doing something to treat what’s under your eyelids and in this case, your eyes itself.
Since we have to be careful not to put anything in our eyes that may harm or aggravate the symptoms of flash eye, the only thing we can do cleanse out and relieve stress and redness in our eyes is to use eye drops as the first aid home remedy.
You don’t need your doctor’s prescription with eye drops and you can buy it even on convenience stores.
What Eye Drops Contain and What It Can Do?
Eye drops are specially formulated to soothe out tired and irritated eyes accompanied by burning sensations and itching.
It can also help in healing the eyes from infection by eliminating bacteria and other foreign bodies that get inside the eyes.
The components of eye drops usually depend on its brand.
But in general, eye drops contain Vitamin A, Ectoine, Heparin, Euphrasia and Hyaluronan.
All of these can help in healing your eyes issues faster, lubricate it, reduce the inflammation and can also aid in the regeneration of corneal damage.
With regular use, the symptoms from welding flash can be greatly reduced with the aid of eye drops.
It basically serves as the artificial tear to your eyes by replacing the lacrimal fluid needed by your eyes to get lubricated.
Ophthalmologists generally recommend the use of eye drops to prevent your eyes from getting too dry even on regular working days especially during summer.
So buy only a proven effective eye drops and take it anywhere especially if your work involves using the welding torch.
Best Practices to Avoid Getting the Welding Flash-Arc Eye
In a welders’ workplace, you have to have a plan to protect your eyes from injuries.
Right now you probably have some ideas on how not to get the arc eye.
But if you really want to know the best practices you could do to prevent having the welding flash-arc eye or eye injury.
Remember the following tips and make them a habit.
Keep your work area safe
Check the work area where you do the welding.
It should be free from fire hazards, toxic gas and other equipment that should not block your peripheral vision while wearing your welder’s helmet.
Be cautious about your welding attire
Always wear protective clothing and gloves that must absorb radiation and cover up surfaces that are highly reflective from the flash of the radiation.
UV light can get through normal clothing while the reflection from reflective surfaces can also strain other people’s eyes in your workplace.
Shield your workspace
Put on fire-resistant curtains on your welding space to let the radiation be absorbed and not affect other workers’ eyes.
Use only goggles that are ANSI (American National Standard Institute) certified
ANSI is an American non-governmental organization that certifies eye protection products against non-ionizing radiations, harmful chemicals and also assures the durability of the products.
Use welder’s goggles with side shields
A protective shade with side shields can protect your eyes on all sides.
It can also serve as protection from flying particles while grinding, hammering or power chipping metals.
Applying home treatments for the flash eye
Once you feel that you got the welder’s flash-arc eye, apply some of the best home remedies at once.
However, seek medical help if your eyes are already in bad shape or do not improve after a couple of days to avoid eye infection.
Educate your team.
Most welders still go to work with welding eye symptoms and yet do not know the remedies for it.
So share with your co-workers about the significance of home remedies for flash burns as well as when to seek medical help if symptoms get worse.
Do the rounds in your workplace.
Don’t hesitate to remind your co-welders about applying the precautions when doing their jobs.
Using the torch almost every day is not an easy job even for professional welders.
However, even a pro can get careless sometimes and it always pays well when everyone in your team stays safe and healthy especially their eyes.
Post safety reminders on your notice board or wall
Every manufacturing or construction business should post reminders on their wall about safety precautions to serve reminders to their workers.
Welding shops should also follow the same because, for a welder, a regular day is a day of risk for his eyes.
If you are a welder, you already know that your eyes are the most important parts of your body that you should consider of great importance.
So if you got a welder’s flash-arc eye, this could mean that you did not follow safety precautions to protect your eyes.
That’s why we are stressing our precautionary measures here over and over.
Moreover, your eyes can also get strained and tired with continuous everyday welding even you use the proper eye gear.
For this, your eyes can also become vulnerable to other eye problems.
Our recommended flash burn treatments here, most of them, can be applied not only to arc eyes symptoms but also whenever your eyes get painfully strained, irritated or you just want to give your eyes some relaxing therapies.
All of these are safe, proven effective and yet readily available at home that some of them can be found in our kitchen. So whenever you think you got the welder’s flash-arc eye take our advice.
As a last note, do take care of your eyes because your life and livelihood depend on their health.