• 8 Kitchen Eye Safety Tips

    Written by: Dan Gudgel
    Reviewed by: Anne Sumers MD
    Nov. 22, 2015

    While it's true that good nutrition is essential for long-term eye health, there can also be a more direct connection between food and eye safety. Make sure you know how to keep your eyes safe in the kitchen before you spend long hours on holiday meals.

    If you do injure yourself, see your ophthalmologist or go to the emergency room if symptoms — like pain, redness, blurred vision, tearing or feeling like there is something in your eye — don't go away.

    Hot Grease in the Eye

    Hot cooking oil and grease can easily splatter onto the eye. Prevention is the best strategy. Eye protection can prevent most common eye injuries. But if you're not willing to wear safety goggles while cooking bacon, at least use a grease shield or lid on the pan.

    If hot grease splashes in your eye, flush it out with plenty of water, immediately. This will remove the grease and any particles in it. If there is obvious injury, excessive pain, continuing symptoms or you're worried about your eye, see an eye doctor as soon as possible. For minor grease splashes, artificial tears may help make you more comfortable. Don't use anti-redness eye drops. You may be more susceptible to eye infections or other eye injuries while your eye is healing.

    Cooking Liquid Splashes

    Any liquid that splashes in your eye can be uncomfortable. First, flush the eye out with plenty of water. Food liquids may be somewhat acidic and cause tearing and a burning feeling. Some foods, like raw chicken liquid, can also contain organisms that could cause infection.

    Hot liquids also can burn or blister the eye. See an eye doctor right away if you see any damage to your eye or if any of your symptoms continue.

    Spices and Eye Exposure

    When you use jalapeño peppers and other spicy ingredients they can stay on your fingers and end up in your eyes if you rub them. Wash your hands thoroughly after preparing any foods, or wear gloves while working with these foods. If you get pepper or other spice oils in or on your eye, flush it out with plenty of water. You may also wash your eyelids and the area around your eye with baby shampoo. Never put any soap directly in your eye.

    Do onions give you particular trouble? Check out our tips to keep onions from making you cry.

    Cleaning Products and Eyes

    Cleaning products are one of the biggest dangers in the kitchen. You should always wear eye protection when working with cleaning chemicals. Bleach, oven cleaners and other cleaning chemicals can cause serious, blinding eye injuries. If you get any cleaning products in your eyes, immediately flush them out with plenty of water, and seek medical attention. The longer the exposure, the worse the damage can be.

    Be Careful With Sharps!

    Knives, forks, scissors and other sharp objects can cause serious eye injuries. Always be careful when handling sharp objects, especially if there are children in the house. Sharp objects are the third-most-common cause of eye injuries in kids.

    Falls and Eye Injuries

    Loose rugs, open cabinets and liquid spills on the floor could be more of a hazard to your eyes than you realize. Falls were the number one cause of eye injury in the United States between 2002 and 2011. People 60 years old and older are especially prone to eye injuries from falls. Before you start cooking make sure your kitchen is as safe for grandma as it is for the grandkids.

    Don't Put Any Food In Your Eye

    Urban myths abound about food products helping eye conditions or changing eye color. These are false. Honey will not change your eye color. Tea does not cure pink eye. Don't put anything in your eye that hasn't been designed for eye use. If you use any food products cosmetically on the skin around your eyes, be careful not to get them in your eyes.

    No Steaks For Black Eyes

    In cartoons and old movies, people often put a raw steak on a black eye. This is not safe. The organisms on raw meat can cause serious infections. Other packaged frozen foods, like bagged frozen vegetables could be contaminated by bacteria in your freezer or kitchen. For a black eye, use an ice pack or ice cubes wrapped in a clean towel. And see a doctor if any serious symptoms develop from a black eye.