Alkaline chemical keratitis: eye injury from airbags

Ann Emerg Med. 1992 Nov;21(11):1400-2. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(05)81911-0.


Inflation of an automobile airbag is accomplished by converting sodium azide to nitrogen gas. The bags are vented so that nitrogen and residual byproducts of combustion, such as alkaline gas, are released into the passenger compartment. We report the case of a patient who incurred a chemical keratitis after the driver's-side airbag deployed. The importance of recognition and management is discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Air Bags / adverse effects*
  • Alkalies / adverse effects
  • Eye Burns / chemically induced*
  • Eye Burns / therapy
  • Humans
  • Keratitis / chemically induced*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Visual Acuity


  • Alkalies