The College of Optometrists

Measures to take in case of accident

Chlorine can be toxic to the eye, but if you follow the decontamination guidelines correctly there is no situation in which sodium hypochlorite solution comes into contact with a patient’s eye. However, if this does occur, you should follow this process:
  1. irrigate the affected eye immediately with copious quantities of sterile normal saline solution or water
  2. check the ocular surface for epithelial damage using fluorescein
  3. examine the anterior segment for inflammation
  4. check intraocular pressure
  5. if there are no clinically significant signs, advise the patient to re-attend the practice if they experience any problems with their eyes, otherwise you should re-examine them at the normal interval
  6. if there are clinically significant signs, you should re-examine the patient the following day or refer them to the Hospital Eye Service, as appropriate
  7. record any adverse incident centrally, in your practice’s system or in the practice Accident Book, and
  8. if you feel it is appropriate, report the incident to the National Reporting and Learning System which is anonymous and helps lessons to be learnt from adverse incidents.168

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