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Cigarette burn to eye
[dan vs] it was cute
thekayla wrote in little_details
Story setting: Post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland (200+ years after the bombs fell, the year 2281), specifically the Mojave desert in Nevada. (If you're familiar with the series, this is for a Fallout: New Vegas fic.)

I'm doing research for a character who is going to have a lit cigarette pressed into his eye for a few minutes, but I'm having a hard time finding some information I need.

The character needs to be blinded (or have his vision severely limited) in that eye. The eye is going to go untreated for a few days. Basically, I need to know (1) how limited his vision will be in that eye (if he can see at all); (2) how quickly an infection might set in; (3) if the eye got infected, what affect that would have on his vision in that eye; and (4) how much pain he'll be in/what a burn like that might feel like after a few days of having gone untreated.

My google searches so far: "cigarette to eye", "ocular thermal burn", "severe thermal eye burn", "untreated thermal eye burn", "thermal eye burn enucleation", "thermal eye burn cigarette", "untreated thermal eye burn cigarette", "blinded by cigarette burn", "blinded by thermal burn", "blindness thermal burn"

Pages I've read/visited: Pathophysiology of thermal burn injury, Ophthalmological complications as a manifestation of burn injury, Burns: eye injuries, Thermal burns, Burn of eye, and Poor prognosis of severe chemical and thermal eye burns

Thanks in advance! :)

Extremely nit-picky, but hopefully useful: I doubt the cherry of a cigarette would last for a few minutes when pressed (or even held) against a wet surface like an eyeball.

Oh really? Well, it doesn't have to be a few minutes. Just long enough to do some permanent damage, at least, if that's going to be possible with a cigarette? Or if not, I can change what does the burning, though that will be a little trickier.

Thanks for that, though.

I'm sure a cigarette held against a cornea would leave a sufficient mess for your purposes, just note it would only burn for a few (bloody horrible) seconds, maybe fifteen at most. Unless, that is, the smoker has the victim in a position where the application of the cherry could be easily controlled in short bursts.

Unless, that is, the smoker has the victim in a position where the application of the cherry could be easily controlled in short bursts.

The victim is being restrained, so short bursts could definitely be possible.

Thanks for the advice on this. Much appreciated. :)

You could probably test that theory on a peeled grape or something.

Ah, the things we writers do for research. XD

I'd imagine that the initial burn would be beyond extremely painful. If the lit end of the cig touches the cornea for even a brief moment, the person would be immmediately debilitated. If the damage is only to the cornea, the tissue can be replaced, and the person's vision should heal decently at best.
Untreated? Frick...X+

Well, in this setting, there's no way he'll be able to have the tissue replaced. So, I'm assuming that left untreated such as it will be, he shouldn't expect the vision to heal any, or very minimally at best?


The chemical burn one doesn't help, unfortunately (cigarette burns are thermal), and I've read the other article already. :( Thanks, though.

It talks about the effects, though, which is going to be the same. It'll be treatment that'll be different for thermal vs chemical burns.

Oh, okay. I'd assumed that the effects of a chemical burn would be rather different than that of a thermal, but if they're going to be the same then I'll definitely take a look at it. :)

It might need some decoding if you're not familiar with medical jargon, but here's a report on a woman who got a spark in her eye: Burn during a routine pterygium excision operation

You might try looking up welding-related terms, as it's a job with a high risk for getting fire in your eyes. Sparks is what I was particularily looking up.

Thank you! That link was very helpful. I'm definitely going to be searching around that site some more too.

i don't have any advice but i'd like to say "yay, a fallout nv fic!"

Well, I kept using thermal because I didn't want to end up with a bunch of links about chemical or radiation burns, because I didn't think they'd all cause the same/similar effects to the eye anyway.

Thanks so much for the links and search suggestions. :) These seem like they should definitely help some.

If you're still reading this...


2011-01-24 05:12 pm (UTC)

to some extent a burn is a burn. to exclude chemical and radiation burns, though, you should just include -chemical -radiation in your search terms, or (if you want to be sure not to exclude pages using those words in other ways) -"chemical burn" -"radiation burn"

I'm wondering if your taking into account the eyelids? I know you said the guy was restrained but are his eyelids restrained because reflex would make his eyelids close and the burn would carry onto the eyelid if it also touched the burny part.

MY daughter had an ocular graze over the cornea. not the same thing and she was treated for it almost immediately.

but it might be helpful :-
the damage wasn't deep enough to reach the cornea although there was concern of scaring. for a week She could see the scratches on the surface of her eye.

even though we were careful it got infected and she spent three days with her eyes closed. Because both eyes move in unison and it hurt to move her eye.

Yeah, the victim's eyelids are being held open too, so there shouldn't end up being any eyelid burning.

Thanks! That's actually really helpful. The victim's eye is probably going to get infected, considering the environment, so it's good to have a more first-hand account of what will happen.

Wrong Diagnosis had some info --->

Also, good thing to keep in mind that even if the cherry were only pressed against his eye for an instant, the likely-hood of continued damage (because burns continue to, you know, burn) is raised a bit.

Merely looking at that URL hurts enough that I'm profoundly reluctant to ever click on it.

Obvious stupid question from someone who doesn't know the setting - given it's 200 years after a nuclear war, and civilisation has collapsed etc...

Where the hell do they get cigarettes? It's not like tobacco grows in the desert, and manufacturing and shipping them needs a lot of technology including paper manufacture, metal foil to keep them fresh, etc. And after 200 years old cigarettes would just crumble to dust.

Nah, that's hardly a stupid question. Unfortunately, all I can say is it's a suspension of disbelief sort of situation. As far as I know it's not addressed canonically whether they're 200 year old cigarettes or somehow manufactured and shipped from somewhere else, but characters smoke them and you can find them all over the place in the game.

Someone ought to write about it...

Eh, the premise doesn't necessarily mean the entire world's a blasted desert, and cigarettes have been around for something close to a thousand years in one form or another. They certainly hugely predate their contemporary design, so there's no reason not to believe something similar enough wouldn't still be around if tobacco was still growing someplace.

I have facts of what happened to my Grandson when he was burned on the cornea of his eye. He is 4 years old and his father burned his cornea with a cigarette. The child was in extreme pain when it happened. He was taken to the ER and they flushed it out, put dye in it to see if was scarred. In fact it was and always will be. A little and I mean a little higher, and it would have been his pupil, causing blindness ! He now as a result of this, has 20/25 vision in it. The actions of his stupid father, has not only caused the loss of some of his sight, but he has also caused the child the lack of getting some jobs he may want to pursue in life. His eye still waters at times, and he still complains that it feels like there's sand in it. No child should have to experience this, and there should be laws put in place to handle this, instead of "it was an accident". When people smoke around children, they should be extremely careful. But, no one should be smoking around a child to begin with !


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