Fibreglass is a man-made insulation fibre that features glass as its main fibre-forming substance. While it's not difficult to install fibreglass insulation on your own, there are risks involved. Since fibreglass insulation fibres are quite small, they can easily get onto the skin, into the eyes or be inhaled. Fibres lodged in eyeballs, under eyelids and in the eye corners can cause painful irritation, scratch the eyeball and even cause permanent damage. Cleansing the eyes is necessary to get the fibres out; to do this well, most people will require an assistant.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Hand soap
- Pure water or eyewash
Remove yourself from the environment containing the fibreglass insulation. Move to an area where there are no insulation fibres in the air or on surfaces.
Ensure everyone involved in the eye-cleansing process washes their hands with soap thoroughly, removing any dirt, fibreglass or other harmful matter.
Examine the affected eye closely to determine the number of fibreglass insulation fibres you're dealing with. If there seem to be a small amount, proceed to step four. If you notice a large number of fibres embedded in and around the eye, seek help from a medical professional instead of attempting to remove the fibres on your own.
Place one finger on the skin of the eyelid, behind the eyelashes. Pull the eyelid up with the finger until there is space in and around the eye for a stream of water.
Apply a gentle and steady stream of pure water or eyewash to the underside of the eyelid. Repeat this procedure under the eye and around to the sides of the eye, being very thorough.
Re-examine the eye with the eyelid still pulled back. If fibres remain, repeat step five. Continue to alternate examining and flushing the eye until all the fibres are rinsed out. As long as the cornea isn't scratched, there should be no permanent eye damage.
Visit a medical professional if you aren't able to flush out all the insulation fibres or if eye irritation persists.
Tips and warnings
- Wear safety goggles with side shields to minimise the chance of getting insulation fibres in the eyes.
- Make sure there are eyewash and safety shower stations nearby when you're working with fibreglass insulation.
- Don't ever try to pluck the fibres out with your fingers or a tool, such as tweezers, brushes or blades; this can cause damage to the eye.
- Don't rub or scratch your eyes while insulation fibres are in them; the fibres could scratch the cornea and cause damage.
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