Treatment for fiberglass fibers in the eye

Fiberglass is not something that you should fool around with or take lightly. If you have got fiberglass fibers in your eye, you should visit a doctor immediately. Delaying proper treatment by either doing nothing or experimenting with untested home remedies is dangerous, and can seriously damage your eyesight.

Fiberglass is a material that is composed of minute fibers, a mixture or a number of elements and compounds, including clay, glass, calcium, aluminum, and several other metals. It is extremely widely used today, and is usually probably safe. The problem usually occurs when fiberglass is cut, trimmed, shaped, or otherwise manipulated. These processes usually create fiberglass dust, and this dust is actually the minute fibers that make up the material. Swallowing the dust, breathing it into your lungs, or getting it in your eyes can cause a lot of health problems. You can even get a rash from the dust if the fibers get stuck in your skin; however this is usually mild and rather easily managed. Inhaling the fibers or getting them in your eyes is the really dangerous problems.

Breathing in fiberglass dust on one or two occasions will probably not have any immediate effects, unless you already suffer from a respiratory condition such as bronchitis or asthma. If you do, the dust will probably simply aggravate your condition temporarily. As far as inhaling the dust goes, the danger is more in long term exposure, which may cause permanent lung damage. The effects of swallowing the dust are not too clear, but they seem to be similar - temporary irritation from occasional exposure, and permanent damage from long term exposure.

If you get fiberglass dust in your eyes however, the effects will be quite apparent immediately. The dust causes rather severe irritation and inflammation of the eyes, and can even lead to permanent damage. You can and should take some first aid measures on your own, but you should get medical attention soon after. The first aid measures are the same as for any other foreign substance that gets into your eyes - flush your eyes with plain water, and avoid rubbing them no matter how tempting it may be to do so.

If you frequently work with fiberglass, you should wear proper protective clothing, such as protective glasses, gloves, a mask for your mouth and nose, and other suitable clothing. If you do not work with fiberglass professionally, you should avoid any amateur experiments - fiberglass is not like wood or regular glass, and should only be handled by professionals with the proper tools and protection.

answered by G M

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