If you’ve been exposed to bright ultraviolet light, you might experience the symptoms of a flash burn, or welder’s flash. If you have eye pain, bloodshot eyes, watery eyes, light sensitivity, the feeling of having something in your eye or even blurred vision, consider trying some basic home remedies for relief. It’s also important to know when to call your doctor so that you can prevent or treat an infection.
Though a flash burn usually will heal itself in one or two days, it’s also important to treat it to avoid an infection. Consider covering your eyes with a padded dressing to help them rest.
Dilating drops might also relax your eye muscles and ease pain. When you use dilating drops, expect your pupils to look bigger than they normally do. Effects from these drops usually last a few hours.
If you’re experiencing itching with your flash burn, the “Doctors’ Book of Home Remedies” suggests using a cold compress. To make a cold compress, wet a washcloth or towel and place it on your eyes whenever they start to itch or feel irritated. Use the cold compress for two to 20 minutes, depending on the severity of the itch.
Use artificial tears to help flush out any foreign objects. These drops may also soothe and remoisten your affected eyes. If you normally wear contact lenses, take them out and keep them out until your eyes are completely healed.
The Better Health Channel also recommends taking pain medication for relief. The pain associated with flash burn could last about a day, so consider taking paracetamol or codeine. Ask your doctor if either of these medications is appropriate for your situation.
When to See a Doctor
Because flash burns can sometimes result in an infection, see your doctor if you experience vision changes, blurred vision, worsening pain, pain when you move your eyes or if you see spots or flashes of light.
If your flash burn results in an infection, your doctor might prescribe antibiotic drops or ointment. Your doctor might also recommend a steroid anti-inflammatory eye drop. To apply ointments, smear a small amount of the cream along the inside of your lower eyelid. Don’t touch the applicator’s nozzle to your eye directly. If your doctor prescribes eye drops, apply them behind your lower eyelid as well.
References and ResourcesThe Better Health Channel
The Doctors' Book of Home Remedies; Sharon Faelton, managing editor; 1997