Those who are engaged in mechanical operations run great risk of accidents to the eye, and therefore a few hints in regard to this subject may be valuable to our readers.
Minute particles of dust, sand, cinders, small flies, etc., are best removed by means of a camel-hair brush or pencil, moistened but not wet, and drawn to a fine point. The brush will absorb the moisture of the eye and with it will take up the mote, provided the latter has not been driven into the eyeball. Where a brush is not at hand, a thin strip of soft paper, rolled spirally so as to form a fine point, is the best thing.
The ragged chips and splinters which are separated during the processes of turning and chipping off, often find their way into the eye, and are sometimes very difficult to remove. The use of magnets has been recommended, but even the strongest magnet is entirely inefficient, if the splinters be imbedded. In such a case, if the operator be gifted with a steady hand and firm nerves, the best instrument for removing the offending particle is a good, sharp pen-knife. Indeed, we prefer it in every case as being far superior to softer articles. In simple cases let the patient stand up with his head firmly held against a door-post; turn back the eyelids with the fingers; find the speck, and by passing the knife gently but firmly over the ball, you may sweep it up. Where the splinter is actually imbedded in the eye, lay the patient on his back on a table; turn the eyelids back, and fix them by means of a ring, and then you will find yourself free to operate without danger of interference from the patient's winking. A suitable ring may be found in most bunches of keys, or any mechanic can make one in two minutes out of a piece of stiff iron wire. Iron splinters always have ragged edges, and can be caught on the fine, sharp edge of a knife and lifted out. But although we recommend the use of a sharp knife, it must be remembered that no cutting of the eyeball is to be permitted in any case, except by an experienced occulist.
Where the person who is operating is at all nervous or timid, it will not do to use a knife. In this case, take some soft, white silk waste and wind it round a splinter of wood so as to completely cover the end and form a little brush of looped threads. Tie it fast. When such a brush is swept over that part of the eyeball where the offending substance is imbedded, the latter will soon be entangled in the threads and may be easily drawn out.
In all such cases a good magnifier will be found of great assistance. The best form is perhaps a good watchmaker's glass.
When corrosive chemicals, such as oil of vitriol, nitric acid, 3orrosive salts, etc., find their way into the eye, the best application is abundance of pure cold water. The eye should be held open and well washed out. When any irritating sub stance gets into the eye, the lid is apt to close spasmodically, and if allowed to remain so, no water can get in.
In the case of lime, however, the action of water would only increase the difficulty. A little vinegar and water forma the best wash for lime, potash, soda, or ammonia.