Does pepper spray damage your eyes?

Is pepper spray safe for the eye?If you’re worried about using pepper spray because of possible long-term damage to your eyes, don’t be.

Researchers in Finland conducted a study of 10 police officers who were exposed to pepper spray. They measured the participants’ corneal sensitivity and tear fluid nerve growth prior to exposure to provide a baseline, then 30 minutes, one day, one week and one month after exposure.

Though some participants experienced some focal epithelial cell damage to the cornea, it healed within one day. Others showed signs of mechanical and chemical sensitivity for up to a week after exposure.

Researchers concluded that pepper spray did cause immediate changes in mechanical and chemical sensitivity that may continue for a week, but a single exposure to pepper spray did not have a long-term effect on corneal tissues.