It’s quite difficult to get a new set of eyes. It can be done but at great expense and inconvenience so you’re better off doing your best to avoid corneal flash burn (also known as welder’s flash). By visiting http://www.welding.com.au/ and checking out the wide range of helmets (and buying one!), you can reduce the risk. But what exactly is Corneal Flash Burn?
Corneal Flash Burn
A few hours after you’ve finished a welding job you may start to notice that your eyes feel like there’s a bit of sand in them. You start getting sensitive to light and your eyes are watering and producing way more tears than normal. Blurry vision is another common symptom. These are generally the initial signs that you’ve been over-exposed to ultra-violet light from the welding process. Basically you’ve sun-burnt your eyes and your corneas (the clear tissue that covers the front of the eye) is trying to repair itself. The cornea can repair itself in a couple of days but there can be a risk of infection, which can lead to blindness if not properly treated so it’s strongly recommended that you always seek professional treatment regardless of how severe you think the burn is. By visiting your doctor, hospital or optician, you can get a proper diagnosis and proper treatment. Don’t put it off.
Your doctor may use anaesthetic drops in your eyes to enable a thorough examination and assess damage or s/he may use a dye which shows the corneal damage under a blue light. It’s not painful and the dye washes out reasonably quickly. You may be prescribed eye drops which will relax your eye muscles; you’ll get large pupils as a result but this is a temporary side-effect. Alternatively your eyes may require a dressing enabling your eyes to rest. Don’t attempt to drive if you’re wearing an eye patch as your depth perception will be all out of whack and you could easily crash. Follow the medical advice that you’re given and be sure to get a follow-up examination after a couple of days to make sure there’s no infection and that everything is healing well.
Prevention is better than cure
The easiest way to reduce the risk of Welder’s Flash is to wear a helmet that conforms to required safety standards. Helmets with auto-darkening functionality can greatly assist. With switching speeds of up to 1/20,000th of a second this means the lens/visor will darken the instant welding commences. Most helmets are fitted with an external shade control too so you can adjust the depth of shade, allowing individualised levels of comfort. Use your helmet at all times – there’s no point in investing in a quality piece of personal protection equipment (PPE) and then not bothering to use it. From the smallest to the biggest welding job always wear your helmet (and other relevant PPE). Replacement eyes are difficult to come by so remember prevention is better than cure.
If you think you’re suffering from Corneal Flash Burn, head to your local GP immediately to seek treatment.