Did you know there is a chance electric shocks result in blindness? Many people know electric shocks can be dangerous and potentially fatal. If you should ever come across someone who has had an electric shock, the first thing you should do is to switch off the current. This should be done at the mains. You can then determine how serious the injuries are and what type of first aid should be given. If in doubt, call 999 for emergency help. This will not be necessary if the shock was a very mild one, but do keep a close eye on the person for a day or so after the shock, in case they develop any complications.
What kinds of injuries may result from an electric shock?
Firstly, electric shocks are very rare. This is because our electrical systems are designed to be as safe as possible. However, around 2.5 million people receive an electric shock each year from mains voltage, so it does happen.
It’s reasonable to assume the extent of the injuries a person receives is entirely dependent on the voltage involved. The higher the voltage, the more severe the injuries will be. However, while there is a degree of truth to this, there are other elements that may come into play.
For example, when electric shocks result in blindness, it could potentially be because the current travelled through the head close to the eyes. When a person receives a shock from a live current, that current will enter the body at the point the person encountered it. The current then goes through the body to the earth, which may mean it goes out through one leg. Electric shocks result in blindness only very rarely, but it is a potential risk.
Burns from electric shocks
Someone who has suffered from an electric shock will often exhibit a burn at the point where the electricity entered their body. They will also have a similar burn where the electricity exited the body. However, what cannot be seen is the extent of the burns that will run between those two points, inside the body. These burns can cause significant damage to organs and tissues, sometimes requiring surgery to try and improve the condition of the person.
Electrical burns can therefore be completely invisible to the naked eye, and yet cause severe medical problems for the victim. When electric shocks result in blindness, it may potentially be because electrical burns have occurred either to the face around the eyes, or internally, causing damage to the eyes that cannot be healed.
When electric shocks result in blindness
As we have seen, the path the electricity takes can determine the extent of a person’s injuries, just as much as the voltage involved and how long the person is exposed to the live current. One source gives the hand as the most common place where electricity enters the body, which is unlikely to lead to a situation where electric shocks result in blindness. However, the second most common part of the body for electricity to enter is the head.
It is likely this second scenario that would potentially lead to eye injuries. Brain injuries, seizures, and other issues may also be derived from such instances. However, no matter what injuries may potentially have been suffered, or how serious they are, disconnecting the power source is always the priority. No one should touch the victim unless and until the power source is confirmed to be off. If it cannot be shut off for some reason, something that cannot conduct electricity, i.e. a wooden pole, for instance, should be used to move the person away from the current. This may be the only option in such cases, but great care should be taken not to receive a shock yourself if you must resort to doing this.
Coping with the outcome of an electric shock
Knowing some essential first aid could make the difference between life and death if you ever encounter anyone who has suffered from an electric shock. We know the priority is to remove the current, ideally by switching it off entirely.
From that point, you must assess whether the person is conscious or unconscious. Don’t move them unless there is some immediate danger to their health – for example, if the electricity has caused a fire to spark off, and by leaving them where they are, additional burns and injury could be a threat.
Sometimes, a person may be fully conscious and be quite alert and seem fine. However, if they start feeling unwell or suffer muscle pain, unconsciousness, confusion, or other symptoms, they should be taken to casualty straight away. In situations where the person is unconscious following an electric shock, dialling 999 is the most important thing to do. As you can see, knowing some first aid could be a big help in these situations, when someone’s life may be in immediate danger and you may be able to do something to help them before the emergency services arrive to take over the situation.
What to do when electric shocks result in blindness
If you have been affected by the issues mentioned here, you should consider how the incident occurred and whether negligence was to blame. You may be partially sighted because of your encounter with the current, or you may have suffered sight loss in one eye but not both. There are many variables here, but whatever the extent of your injuries is, you should think about what caused the accident to begin with.
If you suspect negligence was to blame, whether this happened at work or somewhere else, you have an opportunity to seek no-obligation advice from our team at Accident Advice Helpline. When electric shocks result in blindness and you were not at fault, someone else could be. To find out for certain, you need only call 0800 689 0500, or ring 0333 500 0993 to speak to a friendly advisor via your mobile phone.
Date Published: April 27, 2015
Author: Angela Moran