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Ye Olde Chip in the Eye

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  • Ye Olde Chip in the Eye

    So I got a chip in my eye, when I was not wearing PPE. But there's a catch:

    Last Friday, I was welding up some cracks in a backhoe boom in anticipation of a heavy lift on a potential lathe purchase. In gouging out the welds, I used an angle grinder, die grinder with a burr and various other abrasives. This was all overhead work, and so too was the vertical uphill welding. (Nearly my first time doing so with 6010 and 7018 and I was quite pleased with the results.) I wore by safety glasses any time I wasn't welding, and my faceshield when the gouging sparks were really coming at me. I also had my hearing protection on for loud work, covered from head to toe, and had leather boots on (though they weren't steel toed). So, while I maybe wasn't 100% OSHA PPE safe, I was doing pretty well from a homeshop perspective.

    Despite all of this I still got a metal chip in my eye. Catch was that it was over an hour later sitting at my dinner table. Due to being a relatively rookie welder, I had rained down plenty of spatter onto my scalp, which was beginning to bother me, and as I picked those and some of the other metal chips out, apparently one of them fell into my eye. I had the sliver removed today at an optometrist. It was just a tiny sliver, but it was enough to cause pretty significant irritation, I missed a test this morning, and I had to use my friends as chauffeurs all day.

    So I don't know if there is a moral to this story except maybe that bad luck just happens sometimes, but for me it's the following:
    • Metal slivers in the eye may just be inevitable in this industry. Anyone here never gotten one?
    • Keep the hair short, the less there is the less crap it can catch. Mine was getting pretty unruly at the time.
    • Try to clean off hair, clothes, etc, with the glasses/goggles still one. Just be careful with the airhose, eh.
    • Perhaps get some sort of a hair covering for overhead work. Flameproof do-rag or something. I know the pipeliner welding helmets cover the whole head, I might like to get one of those.
    • Lastly, PPE is good, but not infallible. Seems one can still get hurt even after the work is done.
    21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration

  • #2
    I've had a bit of grinder crap bounce off my cheek, under my safety goggles and into my eye once. After that I got a full face shield and haven't had any problems since. My head hair is short (#2-3 buzz cut), my biggest problem is chips getting in my chest or belly hair. Have to brush those out before going in the house.

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    • #3
      I've only had one metal sliver in my eye, and that was about 40 years ago. I was using an air powered "wire wrap" gun to connect thousands of wires per shift when the exhaust blew a shaving under my safety glasses and into my eye. It dug in deep enough that when I focused up close it was unnoticeable but when I focused on something far away it hurt enough to cause tears.

      The ophthalmologist used a dremel tool like device to buff it out the next morning. It was one of the scariest times of my life when he told me "Don't move, don't blink or the lens will be scarred for life." One of the few times that being petrified was a good thing.

      Dan
      At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

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      • #4
        Yup, bounce off cheek up under safety glasses was the one time I had to go see the eye doctor.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by strokersix View Post
          Yup, bounce off cheek up under safety glasses was the one time I had to go see the eye doctor.
          Same situation here for picking one up that I did not see coming.
          Very painful experience, was all alone at the time and closing my eyes only made it worse. Got to a mirror to try some improvised removal techniques and got real lucky with a powerful magnet and some Q-tips.
          What a relief!
          Yeah the pain of closing my eyelids was a very good incentive to keep them open. LOL

          I keep a first-aid box in the shop and the items it contained were invaluable, fortunately I knew the magnet was close by. I'm thinking a non ferrous chip would have been more difficult everything else being the same.
          Like I say I got lucky as this was the most painful eye debris experience I've ever had.

          Your experience should serve as a good reminder for all of us to remain vigilant, it brought back some not so fond memories for me.
          We only have one set of eyes, do whatever it takes to make them last. If that means not getting a close look to see how that chip is forming so be it.
          Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
          Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

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          • #6
            Aluminum grinding sucks for eyes...

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Willy View Post

              Same situation here for picking one up that I did not see coming.
              Very painful experience, was all alone at the time and closing my eyes only made it worse. Got to a mirror to try some improvised removal techniques and got real lucky with a powerful magnet and some Q-tips.
              What a relief!
              Yeah the pain of closing my eyelids was a very good incentive to keep them open. LOL

              I keep a first-aid box in the shop and the items it contained were invaluable, fortunately I knew the magnet was close by. I'm thinking a non ferrous chip would have been more difficult everything else being the same.
              Like I say I got lucky as this was the most painful eye debris experience I've ever had.

              Your experience should serve as a good reminder for all of us to remain vigilant, it brought back some not so fond memories for me.
              We only have one set of eyes, do whatever it takes to make them last. If that means not getting a close look to see how that chip is forming so be it.
              A MAGNET! Never once did that cross my mind. While I don't begrudge letting the doc do it, I might could have saved much of the weekend with a magnet in a sanitized baggie. But I may have also made it worse. So maybe that was for the best. Almost all of the pain is gone now, but I still have a haze over the eye and some light sensitivity. I'm hoping those both go away soon.
              21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration

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              • #8
                I've had a few trips to emerge to get metal out of my eyes and once to a eye specialist.I have a good quality eye wash bottle in shop,no luck with chips or slivers but have washed out grinding grit before.

                The old Threshing Crews had a trick for removing junk out of a eye,the guy would lay on the ground and another would hold his eye lid open and fish it out with his tongue.I never been either one of those guys lol!

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                • #9
                  I have a floater in my left eye from a sliver that got by my glasses when side milling a die plate. The cutter was throwing needle like chips and I had my face right up close to the action, which I soon learned was not a smart thing to do. The sliver went deep enough to bleed inside the eyeball and that blood has been floating there since 1965. The Ophthalmologist that dug it out said it was a good thing that I came to him early because ferrous metals begin to rust immediately, and if left in the eye for long can cause major problems.
                  “I know lots of people who are educated far beyond their intelligence”

                  Lewis Grizzard

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by strokersix View Post
                    Yup, bounce off cheek up under safety glasses was the one time I had to go see the eye doctor.
                    My eyes water badly when I'm outside in the cold wind so I have started wearing goggles over my glasses. Safety goggles work but poorly if the wind is blowing very hard because of the poor fitup against my face and the wind sneaks in just as some of the metal does when grinding. For that reason I use ski goggles because they use soft foam to fit up to the face. Why can't safety goggles do this too?

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                    • #11
                      Last time this happen, to me, it cost over 4 thousand in medical bills. It happen on a Sunday, went to the ER had to take CT scan, (to see if the chip went into the eye) then they didn't know how or have the right equipment. Finally they removed the steel chip. They referred me to an eye doctor, he said the ER did more damage than the chip did.

                      BTW... We tried to find an eye doctor open on a Sunday no luck.

                      ALWAYS wear eye protection!!!

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                      • #12
                        Last time this happen, to me, it cost over 4 thousand in medical bills. !
                        Must've required four aspirin instead of two, huh.

                        Never had a metal chip in my eye, thank god. But several years back, while scratching an itch around my eye, somehow I flipped the eyelid inside-out (or maybe outside-in). It was instant pain and discomfort ...AND PANIC. No mirror was handy, and I had no idea how to correct the situation. Somehow I managed to correct the situation after a short while. I had never heard of such a thing before ...nor since.
                        Last edited by lynnl; 11-19-2019, 09:24 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tungsten dipper View Post
                          BTW... We tried to find an eye doctor open on a Sunday no luck.

                          ALWAYS wear eye protection!!!
                          My eye doctor says to call him anytime anything like this happens (he's Jewish, so he says "even on High Holidays"). As for protecting your hair, wear a welding hat (looks like an old umpire's hat). It completely covers the top of your head.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by RMinMN View Post
                            For that reason I use ski goggles because they use soft foam to fit up to the face. Why can't safety goggles do this too?
                            ventilation - goggles will fog up quickly without any forced airflow (like going down a mountain ). That's actually another strong argument for a face shield, especially if you wear corrective glasses - no fogging.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RMinMN View Post

                              ... I use ski goggles because they use soft foam to fit up to the face. Why can't safety goggles do this too?
                              I like dirt bike goggles for grinding with an angle grinder. They seem to work well for this.

                              I have been to the eye doctor more than 10 times. No I am not joking.
                              Each time I was using an angle grinder and regular safety glasses.
                              The dirt bike goggles is my go-to eye protection when using the angle grinder.
                              For the surface grinder or the bench grinder, I am fine using regular safety glasses.
                              It is something about the wheels for the angle grinder, those fiberglass reinforced abrasive wheels
                              just seems to throw a lot of abrasive. And I am not sure what filler those wheels use, because
                              I don't think it is pure abrasive grains that they throw off. Sometimes I think it is floor sweepings
                              that some brands use to make their wheels.

                              -Doozer

                              DZER

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