Welding Flash Burn Eyes Home Treatment [12 Simple and Effective Ways]

Welding Flash Burn or Arc Eye – Try Natural Home Remedies

If you have welding flash burns or arc eye, don’t panic and try these home remedies for immediate relief.

Arc eye – Such a painful experience, if you accidentally looked at the welding arc 3-10 hours before. A familiar story of an awful experience of pain and having sand in the eyes for hours. 

Feeling of discomfort, blurred vision and desperately looking for some relief at these odd hours by home remedies.

The pleasant news is that some of the home remedies really work and are recommended by ophthalmic people. In this article, we will discuss the treatment of welding flash burn at home with some common household products.

Let us go through these easy and cool remedies and how they affect relieving us.

What is an arc eye?

Like sunburn the arc or flash eye is temporary blindness, discomfort, feeling of sand in the eyes, and affects both the eyes.

Flash burn is an awful situation with inflammation of the cornea. The clear tissue in front of the eyes when exposed to harmful UV light leads to arc or flash burn.

This may be caused by any type of UV light, but welding arcs are the main culprit, and so they are called ‘arc eye’ or welder’s flash.

It affects both the eyes and the corneal repair happens within a few hours and usually cures without any residual scar. If the flash burn is more severe and not treated properly, it may lead to infection. It can turn out to be fatal leading to a partial loss of vision.

An arc eye is known by other names as welding flash, welder’s flash, welding flash burns, welding eye flash burn, or flash burn while ophthalmologists call it photokeratitis.

Anyone who is exposed to UV radiation can suffer from an arc eye from a natural or artificial source. As in the case of reflection of sunlight on snow, direct sunlight, photography flood lamp’s light. and flash from the welder torch gets are the sources of arc light.

Why do few people develop welder’s flash arc burns?

Welding flash arc burns can happen due to lack of protection, using protective gears without a UV light proper filter. The welders may be careless while doing their job. 

Both eyes get involved generally with arc burn. If symptoms go untreated, the affected eyes may develop infection and can lead to serious issues.

There may be a partial or complete loss of vision in a few cases of photokeratitis.

What are the symptoms of Arc eye welding burns?

It takes several hours before welding arc flash symptoms appear. It is directly proportional to the amount of UV light the eyes get exposed to or the duration of its exposure. 

It takes generally 6-12 hours after the exposure, the consequences may be felt. If UV light is intense and exposed for a longer period, the symptoms appear very early. The commonest symptoms include:

  • Mild to severe pain after a few hours of exposure
  • Light sensitivity or photophobia
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurring of vision
  • A feeling of foreign material like sand

Can arc weld flash burn heal on its own?

The symptoms of arc welding flashes usually resolve on their own. Eye rest and proper treatment can resolve the burns completely in a few days.

When the severity of burns is more the tendency of the eyes to heal by itself will be slow. 

Sometimes the worst condition of infection sets in to cause major damage which may lead to partial or complete loss of vision.

Can you count the causes of welding flashlight burn?

The damage to the corneal layer leading to flash burn can be the result of the exposure to UV light from the following sources: 

  • Reflection of the sun off the snow at the height 
  • Sunlamp in a salon tanning salon
  • Flood lamp of photographer
  • Lightening close to the eye
  • Halogen lamp
  • Welding torch
  • Solar eclipse
  • Direct light from the sun
  • Sunlight reflecting off the water

Steps to avoid welding flash

The welding arc production is a basic of welding. The arc and flash nearer to the eyes cause more and more absorption of UV radiation. If you look at the solar eclipse without protection,  the UV radiation gets absorbed and damages the eye.

welding helmet to prevention of flash burn

It is unfortunate if the welders still work without proper headgear and fully stare at the eyes. There are precautions you can do to avoid the welding arc eye.

1. Gear goggles – Use specifically made goggles for welders and are fully coated with a UV light protection system. 

The sunglasses are coated with Ultraviolet A and Ultraviolet B protection inside if you are welding throughout the day. These glasses can block these two UV radiations that can harm your eye and cornea.

2. Wear a welder’s mask fitted with a filter and passed by government safety and protection standards.

3. PPE kits – Personnel protective equipment is needed for your welding work and it is needed to be attired properly for the job. This protects from miscreants found usually in the welding shop.

4. Respirators to protect from oxides and fumes.

5. Fire/heat resistant clothing against burns and irradiation.

6. Earplugs against loud noise.

7. Insulated gloves and safety to prevent burns, fires, and electric shock.

How to diagnose the flash burn of the eye?

It requires a thorough eye examination, that may include:

1. Inspection – Thorough examination for any damage to the eye.

2. Anesthetic drop – This drop numbs the eye and gets help to examine the damaged eye. The drop should be avoided as it delays healing.

3. Dye – The orange dye is available for the eyes to demarcate the damaged area clearly. The dye is harmless and washes out without any residual effect.

What to do with the painful eyes?

In the welding job sometimes these irritated eyes are bound to happen. Whenever there is continuous repetitive exposure throughout the day, even wearing proper protection, eyes tend to get tired and turn dry.

Some welders while doing their job develop red and tired eyes. The best thing for the welders to do is to give some rest to the eyes after a few hours of the welding. Eyes being the very sensitive parts of our body, it becomes essential to know a few home remedies for the welders.

These recommended home remedies have been proved effective in reducing the discomfort, and redness, and reduce the swelling in irritated eyes, and making them relaxed. 

These home remedies can be the best relief in the mild and first stage of flash burn. In case of persistence of symptoms better see a qualified doctor.

Welders flash treatment at home

Best 12 Welding Flash Burn Eyes Home Treatment

1. Use an ice pack

If your eyes feel pain, and burning then the cold pack can bring instant relief to the injured cornea and calm down the corneal nerves.

In the situation when you have two ice packs, put them over both the eyes for a period of 5 minutes. In the case of a single ice pack, 5 minutes would be enough for each eye. Keep on repeating the process till the time pain and burning sensation weaned away.

2. Clothes and face towel

Coldwater provides a cooling effect on the painful, strained, and burned eyes. This makes the eyes relaxed and refreshed. This quick flash burn remedy can provide instant relief and can be performed at home. The remedy needs two wet clothes or two clean face towels and a bowl full of cold water.

Dip these two clothes in iced cold water and remove the excess cold water. Cover each eye with towels for 10-15 minutes lying down. We can repeat the process twice a day or till the time comfort is achieved.

3. Use of tea bags

The medicinal antioxidant properties of tea leaves are established already. It has anti-inflammatory properties as well, which can reduce the pain and discomfort in the eyes. One application can give an immediate relaxing effect.

Tea bags for welders flash burn

To proceed, dip the tea bag in hot water and squeeze it to remove the excess liquid. Let the tea bag cool down and put them in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Cover both the eyes with tea bags for 10-15 min. We can repeat whenever there is pain.

4. Use cucumber slices

Being rich in water, vitamins, and minerals have a soothing effect. It has cooling properties that help to reduce inflammation and redness in the eyes.

cucumber for welders flash burn

Cut the two thick slices of the cucumbers and place them inside the fridge for 10 minutes. Now place those slices over the eyes and keep them there for about 10 minutes. 

We can repeat the process thrice in a day depending upon the severity of the symptoms.

5. Use banana pulp

The banana pulp is a rich source of Vitamin B12 that helps the injured tissues to heal faster. It helps in reducing the dryness sensation in the eyes leading to relaxation of your eyes and eyelid. This is the commonest fruit available in your home. It can provide fast and best remedies for welding flash burns.

banana for welders flash burn

Peel the banana and mash the pulp thoroughly without leaving any lump. Place the pulp in a freeze after pouring it into a clean container for 10 minutes. The mashed pulp is applied to both the eyes and kept there for 5-10 minutes. Wipe and clean the pulp with a damp cloth.

6. Use of rose water

It acts as a coolant and can easily alleviate the pain, and burning sensation of the afflicted eye with welder flash arc burn. It reduces itching, and inflammation to a great extent and provides much-needed relief from the discomfort of the welder’s eye.

Procure pure rose water without any additives. Take two cotton balls and dip them in the rose water, and squeeze the excess liquid. 

Place the cotton ball over each eye for 10 minutes. We can repeat the process three times a day to get fast relief.

7. Use of Vicks VapoRub

Vicks VapoRub is known for its cooling effects and relief from discomfort on many parts of the body including the eyes. It offers a therapeutic effect on the welding eyes symptoms like pain and redness. Apply the thin layer of Vicks VapoRub around the eye taking care not to touch the eyeball.

Vicks Vaporub for welders flash burn

Close your eyes for a few moments to avoid menthol release suddenly and then open the eyes slowly. 

One may have teary eyes when vapor from menthol touches the eyes, but it is a very healthy sign to clean the eye. Wipe off the ointment by tissue after a period of 30-40 minutes. Repeat the application as you feel the need.

8. Use of potatoes

They are very helpful in treating wounds as they are laced with anti-inflammatory properties. Due to this property of potatoes as an eye patch, it offers a cooling effect by reducing irritation, pain, and itching. 

We need two washed clothes and a bowl of water. Peel a potato and grate it. Dip the cloth in water and squeeze the excess water. Place one lump of grated potatoes in this washed cloth and secure it. Keep this clothed lump in the refrigerator for 5 minutes. 

Place this cooled cloth with potatoes over the eye for about 15 minutes. We can repeat the process 2-3 times a day. Make sure to use a new lump every time.

9. Use of milk

The natural enzymes available in the milk are very beneficial in healing the damaged tissues and reducing the inflammation of the welder’s flash. 

It is a safe option if it goes inside the eye as it lubricates and heals the corneal epithelial tissue. It provides a cooling effect on red inflamed, and irritated eyes

Dip two cotton balls in the pasteurized milk, and squeeze the extra milk. Refrigerate the cotton ball for 5 min. Put the cool ball on the eyes for 10 minutes and repeat the process as required.

10. Use almond oil

As almond oil is rich in Vitamin E that helps to protect the membrane from UV light. It is a reliable home remedy for welding flash burns. 

It helps in relieving irritation, burning sensation, pain, itch, and discomfort on the affected eye. The almond oil per se can reduce inflammation and pressure as well.

Almond oil for welders flash burn

Pour almond oil of sufficient quantity into a cup. Using your clean finger apply the oil over and under the lid avoiding directly pouring into the eye. Leave it there till you feel a relaxing effect. You can repeat the process twice a day.

11. Use cold freezer water

This is the quickest remedy to find relief from irritated and itchy eyes in case of a shortage of ice cubes. It reduces inflammation and relaxes the eye instantly. The cold water is readily available and can be used as treatment anywhere for the welder’s flash burn.

Clean your hand and take the cold water from the refrigerator. Pour this water in the cup of your hand, angle your head now towards the ground and place this hand on the affected eye for 3-5 minutes.

Then repeat the process in the other eye as well. The process can be repeated thrice as per the symptoms and needs.

12. Sunglasses to protect against further damage

The sunglasses block the UV of the sun and its damaging effects on the eyes. Only reputable brands have these specifications for blocking UV light. Choose the brand wisely and it will help to protect the eyes when you are outdoors.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does Arc flash burn go automatically?

Commonly these arc flash burns resolve automatically and completely. One has to be cautious enough to treat or prevent infection, otherwise, the possibility of permanent damage can not be ruled out.

2. What causes Arc flash burn?

Intense light is usually the cause of the damage to the upper layer of the cornea. The light that causes damage is not visible to the eye. The welder’s arc burn is caused due to UV light.

3. What an eye drop can do to the eye and what does it constitute?

The drops are formulated to soothe our irritated and tired eyes. They relieve the burning sensations & itching. It helps in the healing of the eye by removing all the foreign material. 

Eye drops contain Antibiotics, Vitamin A, and Euphrasia, and help the eye to heal faster, lubricate and assist in the regeneration of the cornea.

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Welding Flash Burn or Arc Eye 12 Home Remedies – Natural Treatment is the way to deal with the emergency only. These remedies are helpful tools to get relief in cases of emergencies. It does not replace the eye doctor consultation. 

It is better to see a doctor if there is no relief in a few hours with these remedies. These remedies are not a substitute for the ophthalmologist consultation. Spare a few moments to comment on the article to assist us in improving further.

See also

Top 12 Welding Safety Tips To Overcome Welding Risks

7 Mistakes In MIG Welding And Their Prevention

5 Commonest MIG Welding Hazards And Their Prevention


Eyes – flash burns

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