Getting treatment for irritated eyes

CENTER CITY - December 5, 2011

I spoke with a doctor there about what could have caused the symptoms, and if there are long-term risks.

"You wouldn't think 50 people or so would get something like this all at once," said Wills Eye Ophthalmologist Dr. Christopher Rapuano.

Rapuano said he was surprised to hear the details of the incident at Father Judge. After talking to several colleagues who treated people involved, he told Action News the problem does not seem to be severe.

"They noticed some mild ocular irritation but nothing terrible, nothing bad and nothing specific," said Rapuano.

As for what could have caused the symptoms of burning, watering eyes, Rapuano said:

"It sounds to me, and I am just guessing, but it sounds to me like something in the air, some fume or some irritant that got into people's eyes."

And Dr. Rapuano said people with more sensitive or dry eyes may have felt the irritation earlier or more severely after exposure.

"They don't have a lot of tears that are flowing and washing out dust or whatever is in the air," he said.

As for those affected, Dr. Rapuano said they did the right thing. If you feel pain, burning or itching to the eyes that don't go away, or if your vision becomes blurred, you should seek medical care.

Also, if you ever experience these kinds of symptoms, doctors say try NOT to rub your eyes because that can make it worse. But if you wash your eyes with water and they are not getting any better, you should see an eye doctor.

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