Turning Archive 2005

Chemical Conjunctivitis and Reality vs. Theory

steve antonucci
>First, let's start with theory and reality. Theory is what should happen in an ideal world. Reality is what happens in the world we live in. So when you read that CA catalyzes in 30s, that is theory. Reality is you never know.

With that being said, I'd like to deliver the following PSA: Never ever turn without a faceshield. Big duh on my part. I do it all of the time, and have on many occasions taken a few seconds to wipe wood chips out of my eyeball. On this occasion, however, I was faced with a different challenge.

I had a piece of Mesquite that had pith-checking, like all mesquite does. So I soaked it in CA, and waited for a minute or two for the glue to cure. The amount I used probably extended the time it would take to fully cure, but that doesn't compensate for the stupidity of what I did next. Not only was I dumb enough to be at my lathe with no faceshield, but I was directly in the line of fire. At 1000 RPM,the uncured CA came flying out and struck me directly in my right eye.

Now we all know that moisture can cure CA very quickly, and that CA fumes will make your eyes tear. CA on the surface of the eye is a whole new experience. My initial reaction was to run to the bathroom and begin flush out my eye, which felt like it was on fire. After that, I sat for a day with my eye swollen shut, and tears and redness. When I woke up feeling no better, I went to the hospital.

That's where I learned of a condition called chemical conjunctivitis. Think of pinkeye times 1000%. Doctor said that there are lots of ways to get it, CA is one of the better ones. So he put some stuff in my eye to dull it, and some drops to kill all the bad stuff. A day and a half later, I feel pretty good.

Lesson learned. Turning with a faceshield, even if you can't see, is better than not turning without a faceshield because you can't see.


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