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An 'ouch' eye condition

I refer to the article 'Eyes that go ''ouch'' in the night' (Clinical, June 7). In my practice the most common reason for this presentation is arc eye. This is damage to the corneal epithelium from acute high flux ultraviolet light exposure in welding.

In many cases it is a bystander rather than the welder himself who is affected, as properly-worn welding goggles will provide good protection against this effect.

The patient typically presents four-six hours after exposure with pain, photophobia, excessive lachrymation and a feeling of grittiness. Treatment is symptomatic.

Experienced welders use a variety of home remedies – the application of used teabags that have been allowed to cool but retain their moisture is one such. Complete recovery is to be expected.

Dr Malcolm Cathcart

Consultant in Occupational Medicine

Oldbury, West Midlands

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