I was interviewed by WUSA 9 Reporter Evan Koslof on the risks of ophthalmic injury with contact lens use and tear gas exposure.
The interview, titled “VERIFY: Is it safe to wear contacts to a protest or can tear gas cause blindness?” (6/3/2020) is here.
My original blog post on ophthalmic risks with tear gas and rubber bullet exposure is here.
My initial pearls for both are:
Eye protection is the best initial option to hopefully avoid exposure to tear gases and rubber bullets but they do NOT give 100% protection. If exposed to tear gas, an individual should:
- Remove themselves from the contaminated area as quickly and safely as possible.
- Seek fresh air.
- Seek higher ground (aerosolized tear gases are heavier than air).
- Blink frequently (to promote tearing).
- Do not rub eyes (may spread crystals within ocular surfaces).
- Remove contact lenses.
- Flush the eyes with copious clean water.
- Seek emergency room and ophthalmic evaluation.
If rubber bullet, traumatic or projectile injury occurs, remember the military phrase SHIELD AND SHIP. In transit to the emergency room:
- Do not touch the eye.
- Do not rub the eye.
- Stay upright.
- SHIELD: Place a hard shield around eye. Even a temporary eyeshield, such as paper cup or styrofoam cup, may work in an emergency.
- SHIP: Seek emergency room and ophthalmology consultation immediately.
Tear gases and rubber bullets can cause permanent eye damage, eye injury, discomfort, pain, loss of vision, and blindness. In cases of chemical injury and eye trauma, protect the eyes and seek medical attention immediately.