Imagine this scene: You are in the kitchen preparing a delicious surprise dinner for your spouse. You start off by chopping up some peppers and throwing them into a pan with some oil to sauté them. As the pan sizzles, a rogue pop sends a drop of hot oil straight towards your eye! Out of pure reaction, you reach up and rub your eye in the hopes of quelling the painful burn from the oil.
The pain doesn’t go away, though. Instead it gets much, much worse. Now your eye is on fire along with all the skin around it. Desperate at this point, you start looking for anything that will ease the pain. You open the fridge to find a raw steak. It works in the cartoons, right? Something cold to ease the swelling?
When you spouse gets home, they don’t find a delicious surprise meal waiting for them. Instead, there you are, sitting on the floor of a messy disaster zone-looking kitchen with a raw steak on your face.
If only you had read this article before you started cooking!
Your eyes might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of kitchen safety. While the disaster scenario we just experienced is a little extreme, the risk is real. Check out the following tips to ensure that you live to “see” your next dinner.
Spices and Spicy Foods
Vegetables like peppers and onions contain oils that could cause irritation when they get on sensitive parts of the body. Whenever you handle spicy things or foods that have a strong residue, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before touching your face and never rub your eyes with dirty hands! Maybe even consider wearing gloves when handling spicy foods.
If you do happen to get spices or oils in your eyes, make sure to rinse your hands off first and then rinse out your eyes, eyelids, and surrounding skin.
Hot grease can can be an extremely painful if it comes in contact with your eyes. Heated oil and grease likes to sizzle when it’s in contact with water or other foods. To keep the popping and splashing off your body, make sure to use a lid on the pan as often as possible and keep your body a practical distance away if the oil starts to pop. Maybe even consider eye protection.
If hot oil does end up in your eye, rinse it out. You can also use moisturizing tear drops (don’t use the anti-red eye teardrops, though). If you think there may be some injury, see a doctor as soon as possible.
Other Kitchen Liquids
There are plenty of other kitchen juices that won’t immediately cause pain, but could still be hazardous to your health. Juices and blood that come from raw meat could cause infection if they get in your eyes so make sure to wash your hands thoroughly every time you handle these foods.
While we’re on the subject, don’t put raw meat anywhere near your face unless it’s a sushi roll. Cutting a raw steak on your eye to ease swelling is just a cartoon myth. You’re much better off using ice cubes in a towel or an ice pack.
In addition to raw meat, you should also never put foods into your eyes. Homeopathic remedies that claim putting food in or on your eyes to treat a condition (like using tea to treat pink eye) are hazardous.
Cleaning chemicals are a very serious hazard and can even cause blindness! If you end up with cleaning chemicals in your eyes, immediately rinse them out and see a doctor. The longer the substance stays in your eyes, the more damage it can cause.
Objects in the Eyes
If you get a foreign object in your eye, avoid rubbing it and rinse your eyes out thoroughly. If you have an object protruding from your eye, like a skewer, do not pull the object out. Instead, stabilize it so it can’t move and then cover the victim’s eyes so they don’t look around, since moving their eyes will cause further damage. Then, immediately see a doctor.
Hopefully these tips help you stay safe in the kitchen. If you ever have any questions or eye injuries, be sure to book an appointment with St. Lucy’s Vision Center online or give us a call!