Effect of HCl on Eyes


Another reason to wear goggles is that even the weakest acidic solutions can damage the eye. Just because your fingers feel no pain does not imply that your eyes will react in the same manner. Think of shampoo’s contrasting effects on hands and eyes, and shampoo is 100 000 times more “pH- balanced” than a seemingly weak 0.1 M solution of HCl.





Physiological effect


0.000032 M

Discomfort begins

3.5 to 4.5

0.00032 to 0.000032 M

Breaks in corneal epithelium; usually heals in 2-3 hours


0.1 M

Severe damage to lens and eyeball







Mary O Amdur and al. Toxicology: The Basic Science of Poisons.  McGraw Hill. 1991