How Long Does Welders Flash Burn Last?

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A flash burn is also known as arc eye. A flash burn usually results from exposure to excess light such as too much welder’s torchlight and metalwork flashlights; once the eye is exposed to bright light, inflammation of the eye cornea can cause severe damage to both eyes.

Flash burns are treatable if not ignored. If you experience a flash burn, visit a professional doctor before the damages result in vision loss. Flash burns are painful, just like sunburns. Also, flash burns can be caused by UV light, halogen bulbs, snow and water reflection, exposure to direct sunlight, and solar eclipses.

So, how long does welders flash burn last? Flash burns can last approximately three days if treated according to the recommended treatment methods. Your eye cornea can repair itself at most two days without leaving any markings, and it may fail to repair itself if it is severely damaged. If the flash burn persists, consult a professional doctor before both eyes are affected, resulting in eye vision loss.

What is a flash burn?

A welder’s flash burn is an eye injury that damages the eye cornea resulting in a pain increase when exposed to welding torchlight. The cornea is an eye part that covers the eye and regulates the light passing to the eye. Suppose the cornea is damaged by bright light such as the welding bright light and the Ultraviolet light (UV light). In that case, the eye pupil remains unprotected, resulting in severe eye damages unless treated by a professional doctor.

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What are the symptoms of arc eye?

Once you have been exposed to bright light such as Ultraviolet, you may experience the following signs and symptoms.

  • Unclear eye vision. After exposure to strong sunlight, the eye pupil is affected, resulting in clouded vision such as blurred images.
  • Eye pain and is a common symptom that shows your eye has been exposed to excess light. Eye pain is intense and usually starts after some hours of exposure to excess light.
  • Increased sensitivity to light. Your eye becomes sensitive even to minimum light exposure and the photographic light.
  • Reddening of the eye. Eye reddening is also referred to as bloodshot eyes. If you experience reddening of your eye, it is evident that you are suffering from flash burns.
  • Crying eyes. Once a person is exposed to bright light and experiences a flash burn, his or her eyes become watery.
  • The feeling of an object stuck in the eye, such as sand.
  • The increased pressure level in the eye.

If you notice the symptoms stated above, consider treating the eye using natural methods, but consult a professional doctor for medical treatment if the problem persists.

How does a flash burn occur?

In most cases, a flash burn occurs when one is exposed to excess welder light. Moreover, flash burns usually happen due to exposure to welding light, thus the name welder's flash burn. Once the eye has been exposed to bright welding light without Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), the eye cornea is damaged, endangering the pupil eye and instant symptoms such as instant eye pain, clouding of the eye, etc.

The eye cornea and the corneal area take up to three days to heal completely without leaving any markings in the eye, such as remains of eye bloodshot. Besides welding bright light, other sources can cause arc eyes, such as exposure to direct sunlight and sunlamps found in the salon. Therefore, it is advisable to wear protective eye goggles when welding or looking directly to any right light source to protect the eyes from a flash burn.

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Diagnosis of a flash burn

There are several methods and tools used to check the existence of a flash burn. In most circumstances, it is advisable to see a professional doctor to help diagnose flash burns.

The tests and examinations below are used to examine the eye for arc eye infection.

  • Eye examination and inspection

The eye examination is also known as the visual acuity test. The doctor examines the condition of the whole eye, including the eye cornea, pupil, eye iris, eye lens, etc., for any eye injuries. Moreover, thorough eye checkups concerning the pupil motion and if the eye lens functions normally.

Further, you can ask several questions concerning the latest exposure to the welding bright light. If the eye moves unusual and eye vision is unclear, it is evident that you have a flush burn, and they use a slit lamp to test.

  • Using orange dye

Orange dye is used together with essential blue light. The orange dye is slowly dropped into the patient's eye, and the special blue light is used to test and check any eye damages, especially the eye cornea. The dye is preferred because it cleans your eye and does not cause any harm to the eye and the eye parts. The dear cleans your eye by using your tears, and it makes your eye yellow for some time.

  • Using microscopic lens

A microscopic lens is usually used together with a slit lamp or welder's flash. The microscopic lens exposes any eye damages.

  • Use of anesthetic drop

The doctor uses a syringe and drops an anesthetic drop in the eye. Anesthetic drop desensitizes your eye, giving the doctor enough time to examine your eye. When administering an anesthetic drop, it is advisable to use only a few drops and few times to increase the healing rate. Anesthetic drop is preferred since it regulates eye pain and irritability during eye surgery.

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Treatment for flash burn 

Treatment of a flash burn is done either at home or in the hospital. There are artificial treatment methods in the hospital, while at home, you can use natural remedies to treat your eye flash burn. If you want to treat the eye, consider using the following methods.

Natural home remedy

Using natural components to treat your eye is advisable since the ingredients have lack manufactured chemicals that have side effects. The following elements are used to treat welding flash burn naturally.

01. Boiled milk.

Milk is considered the best for body part treatments such as skin treatment, eye treatment, and ulcers. Milk is beneficial in that; it contains enzymes that reduce eye inflammation. First, to use milk on your eye, boil milk in a clean pot until its boiling point is reached.

Leave the boiled milk to sit for a couple of minutes or hours until it is cold. Using soft cotton, place the cotton ball inside the milk and administer the milk to the eyes. Also, you can use a syringe to drop warm milk in the affected eye.

02. Administering tea bugs on the affected eye.

Tea bugs reduce the swelling and eye pain in the affected area since it contains antioxidants. Apply gently on the affected area and leave it for some time, and it works instantly.

03. Using cucumber slices.

Cucumber is preferred due to its cooling effect. Cucumber eases the eye swelling and reddening because it contains much water that works precisely like ice. Also, cucumber prevents the eye from drying up and smoothens dry skin. To use the cucumber, slice it into small slices and place them in a refrigerator for a couple of minutes. Put the cucumber slices on the affected eye/eyes.

04. Vicks Vaporub ointment

Welders commonly use Vicks Vaporub to treat welder's flash burn. The ointment functions by making your eyes clouded with tears, just like an orange dye. Also, it cleans both eyes. To use the ointment, administer it around the eye area but not in the eye and repeat the process to get the best results. Vicks Vaporub has side effects if it comes in direct contact with the eyes.

05. Applying rose water.

Despite the rose plant being used as an attractive plant, its water is used for treatment purposes. Rosewater acts like ice cubes as it contains a cooling feature. Rosewater helps in reducing eye inflammation and controls eye irritation. Place cotton balls in rose water and administer the balls to the affected eye areas. Leave the balls for approximately 9 to 15 minutes.

06. Using raw sliced potato.

Potato contains water that keeps the dry skin around the eye moisturized. Also, it has a cooling effect that reduces eye swelling and reddening of the eye. To use potato, slice the potato into thin slices and keep them wet using a clean wet cloth. Leave them in a refrigerator for approximately six minutes and place them on the affected area after lying upwards.

Let the potato slices sit on the affected area for a couple of minutes, approximately fifteen minutes. In addition to that, raw potato increases the eye healing rate.

07. Fresh Aloe Vera.

Aloe Vera is preferred due to the water content available in the stem and the leaves. Also, Aloe Vera contains an antibacterial property that heals the affected eye and reduces swelling of the eye.

Bring cold water, place fresh Aloe Vera gel (around 3 or 2 tablespoons), and leave the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. Place cotton balls in the mix and gently apply on the affected area for around 12 minutes.

Eye drops and ointments for Arc eye

Eye drops and ointments keep the eye moisturized, relieve eye pain, and promote quick healing of the eye from flash burns. Eye drops include; Visine, refresh, and Genteel. Ensure you are careful when using the ointments, e.g., washing hands before using them, storing the creams away from children, etc.

Common methods  of treatment 

Standard treatment methods include:

  • Using antibiotics to keep the affected eye from infections.
  • Dressing the affected eye to prevent the accumulation of germs.
  • Use of ointments and eye drops.
  • Artificial tears to make your eyes more comfortable.

Prevention of flash burn

Preventing yourself from welder flash burns is essential and efficient rather than treating the flash burn.

  • Wear special welding goggles when handling welding metals.
  • Avoid looking at the welding torch directly.
  • Wear protective masks when welding.

Where to get help?

In case of emergencies, contact the following;

  • Call 000 or 9-1-1 depending on your country.
  • Nearest hospital department that deals with emergencies.
  • Licensed pharmacist.
  • Your personal or GP doctor.
  • Call health direct department 1800022222.
  • Optometrist.

Some extra tip for fast relief in stinging eyes

  • Drink a lot of water to prevent your eyes from drying.
  • Using natural ingredients such as cucumber, raw potatoes, rose water to ease the swelling and eye burning.
  • Avoid touching your eyes with dirty hands when applying ointments.
  • Supplement your body with omega-3 fatty foods like sardines.
  • Don't use a blue screen while healing since it slows down the healing rate.
  • When using cotton balls, ensure you compress your eyes gently while they are closed to prevent damaging them more.
  • Remove eye irritations by rinsing your eyelids with clean water.


Welder flash burns pose a significant danger to both eyes, just like sunburns. Flash burns are common among welders since they deal with Ultraviolet light directly. Exposure to direct bright light affects the eye cornea, and fortunately, the eye cornea repairs itself for up to two days. Therefore, it is advisable to wear protective clothing when welding.

If you experience welding flash burns, follow the information above to treat yourself naturally before visiting the doctor. But, if the problem persists, don't ignore it but consider visiting the nearby doctor. Moreover, avoid looking directly at the welding bright light.


Can arc eye cause permanent damage?

Arc eye can cause permanent damages if not treated well.

Is Arc Eye painful?

Arc eye is painful and intense and usually starts after some hours of exposure to excess light.

Does welding ruin your eyes?

Welding cannot ruin your eyesight though it increases eye pain.

Does arc eye go away?

Arc eye can heal entirely as long as it is treated well. Otherwise, it leads to permanent eye damage.

How do I stop my eyes from burning?

Well, in most cases, you can stop your eye from burning by using ingredients that have a cooling effect, such as cucumber, rose water, ice cubes, and medicines recommended by a doctor.

Can you go blind from welding flash?

Welding can cause permanent blindness if exposed to too much welding light and remains untreatable.

What does welders flash burn feel like?

Flash burns result in an irritating feeling of something stuck in your eye, bloodshot in your eyes, and failure to see clearly.

How long does flash blindness last?

Flash blindness lasts for around 2 to 4 minutes, but flash blindness takes a long time during the night.

Last Updated on June 2, 2021 by weldinghubs

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