How to Prevent and Treat Eyes from Flash Burn

A flash burn is actually a painful inflammation of the cornea. It is the clear tissue that covers the front of the eye. One of the major causes of a flash burn is exposure to bright ultraviolet (UV) light. This is caused by all kinds of UV light. However, welding torches are known to be the most common source. This is also the reason flash burn is also referred to as a ‘arc eye’ or ‘welder’s flash’.

Just as sunburn, flash burns affect both eyes. Usually cornea is capable of repairing itself 24-48 hours. It also heals without leaving a scar. However, if left untreated, there are chances of infection which may lead to partial or permanent loss of vision.

Listed below are some of the most common symptoms of flash burn:

  • Pain (mild to very severe)
  • Blurred vision
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Watery eyes
  • The feeling of having something in eye

Common Sources of Flash Burn

  • Direct sunlight
  • Welding torch
  • Reflection of the sun off water or snow
  • Tanning salons
  • Halogen lamp
  • Photographer’s flood lamp

The Treatment

Treatment for flash burns could include:


The eyes may be covered with a padded dressing. This is important to allow eyes to heal.

Dilating Drops

These are used to relax eye muscles which in turn relieve pain and help eyes to rest and heal.


Usually the doctors advise use of antibiotic drops or ointment at home in order to prevent infection. You must always follow advice of your doctor on how to and the frequency of using the prescribed eye drops or ointment. In some cases, the doctor may also prescribe mild steroid-based anti-inflammatory drops.

Words of Caution while Using eye Drops

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before touching your eyes.
  • Rest your finger on cheek and then pull down the lower eyelid.
  • You need to tilt your head little back and drop the liquid inside right behind your lower eyelid.
  • The ointment should be smeared in a small amount all along the inner part of lower eyelid. Take special care that the nozzle doesn’t get in contact with the eye.
  • The prescribed treatment should be continued until the eyes have healed. Allow the doctor to decide when to stop the treatment.
  • The eye drops and ointments should be stored in the refrigerator.
  • Keep the medicines out of reach of children.

Eye Care after Flash Burn

  • It is important to take good care of yourself at home right after a flash burn.
  • Ask your doctor to prescribe some painkillers such as paracetamol or codeine.
  • Always check the packet for the right dose.
  • The pain may last for twenty four hours. In case, it persists, call the doctor and ask for further precautions.
  • Strictly avoid wearing contact lenses until your eyes have healed completely.
  • Always wear sunglasses when going out.
  • Use artificial tears or lubricants in order to relieve discomfort in your eyes.
  • Don’t indulge in self medication. Always buy these products after consulting your health care practitioner.
  • Do not miss out on check-ups. Do as the medical practitioner advises.
  • Always seek urgent medical help for flash burn.

Prevention Methods from Flash Burn

Prevention from flashburn is the best cure. Here’s what you can do to prevent your eyes from a flash burn:

  • Always protect the cornea from Ultra Violet light by wearing coated safety goggles.
  • While performing dangerous tasks such as welding, you should always wear a welder’s mask.
  • The goggles you choose should adhere to the Indian standards.
  • The goggles should cover the eyes completely.
  • Sunglasses should provide complete protection against both UVA and UVB radiation.
  • Always check the label before investing in sunglasses.


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