Our eyes have many mechanisms that protect us from any harm. We have eyelashes to keep dust and debris away.
It can trigger a reflexive blink once it detects an unsafe object about to fall off your eye. Our eyelids also have the ability to close in a matter of seconds to block elements from entering the eye. It also helps in producing tears that flush foreign objects off of your cornea.
Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and all these protective measures cannot prevent an eye injury from happening.
It is sometimes hard to tell if someone suffers from an eye injury. It is only obvious when it involves a raised eye pressure and detached cornea. Serious eye injuries can result in vision loss or blindness. For that reason, any kind of injury or trauma to the eyes should be handled seriously. Prompt first aid treatment for eye injuries can save your vision and prevent further complications.
Common Symptoms of Eye Injury
If you notice any of the signs included below in yourself or someone else, seek immediate care right away. These are signs and symptoms of possible serious eye injury:
- Pain or discomfort in the eye and eyelids
- Redness and watering of the eye
- Visible damage or bloodshot appearance in the sclera (white eye area)
- Partial or full loss of vision
First Aid Treatment for Eye Injuries
Improper usage or storing of chemicals at home or in the workplace can easily get into your eyes. When using toxic or abrasive chemicals, it is advisable to wear safety glasses for protection. Use it with caution to prevent chemical burns to the eye.
First aid care for chemical burns starts by remaining calm and keeping your eyes open. Closing your eyes will only trap the chemical inside and cause further damage. Keep your eyes open and wash them with a generous amount of water for 15 to 20 minutes. After this, go to the nearest eye specialist for immediate care.
You may also contact your local poison control centre for instructions. Be prepared to give information, including the name and type of chemical, amount of chemical you came in contact with, etc.
Blow to the eye
Suffering from a blow or impact on the eye is another form of trauma. While minor blows can often be treated at home, all eye injuries should be monitored if there are signs of potential infection or serious injury.
First aid care for a blow to the eye includes gentle application of a cold compress to the affected area for about 5 to 10 minute intervals. Use a cloth or towel between the ice and the skin so the full impact of the ice will not go straight to the skin.
Consult an eye doctor as you may want to be examined for any potential damage. If the trauma came from serious injuries such as skull fracture or bone displacement, get yourself in the emergency room for immediate evaluation. Seek professional help if you experience vision changes, persistent pain, and signs of drainage from the affected eye. Look for any abnormalities or bleeding in the clear or white part of the eye.
Cuts or Punctures to the Eye and Eyelid
Smaller cuts and scratches in the eye usually heal by leaving it on its own. While puncture and deep cuts require different times of treatment. These eye injuries may completely tear the cornea or sclera. Most of the time, these two are serious injuries that require sutures.
If you suffer from this type of injury, seek immediate medical care. However, you will need to follow basic steps to ensure proper safety and support for your eye.
First aid for treating cuts and puncture wounds requires you not to wash the eye or eyelid. If there is an object or particle left in the eye, do not remove it. Leave the removal work with the eye care professional. Wear an eye shield as you seek medical care.
Seek prompt medical attention.
Foreign Objects in The Eye
If a foreign object penetrates your eye or eyelid, get yourself in the emergency room or urgent care centre as soon as possible. Attempting to remove the object yourself could only cause further injury to your eye. If you have eye shields at home, use them to cover your eye for protection. Alternatively, you can also loosely tape a paper cup on the affected area to serve as an eye shield while you seek urgent care.
There are instances where your eye may have corneal foreign bodies. It can be in the form of a small and sharp piece of substance such as metal embedded in the cornea or the eye’s surface. These are easily treated as they have not yet penetrated the interior of the eye.
Eye care specialists can help you remove these foreign bodies before causing further damages.
First aid for a foreign object to the eye includes pulling the upper lid down and blinking repetitively. If the particle is still present, rinse it with eyewash. If rinsing did not remove the particle, close your eye, put a loose bandage, and see a doctor.
Bruise of the Eyelids
Bruising on the part of the eyelid is also known as the ‘black eye.’
The swelling and bruising of the black eye might get worse for a couple of days. It will then go away on its own in the next two to three weeks. Please note that it is normal for bruising to change its colour as it heals.
Place a cold compress or a cloth with ice to the injured area. Use gentle pressure when applying the cold compress, and try not to press on the eye itself. If possible, apply it right after the injury to reduce the swelling. Do it several times a day.
Steps to Take In Case Of Eye Injury
Depending on the type and severity of the eye injury, the doctor may recommend flushing your eye with water or saline solution. In more serious injuries, you may need to undergo surgery.
Since the eyes are a sensitive part of the body, treat all eye-related injuries as potential emergencies. Do not take risks with your eyesight, and do not hesitate to seek help from an eye specialist. Remember, you only have one pair of eyes, and it is important to take good care of them.
While the first aid tips above are effective in an eye injury, it is vital to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Do not underestimate the seriousness of an eye injury, especially if it is on the part of the eye that does not have pain receptors. Putting off the medical care will only risk you exacerbating the injury, which could lead to permanent loss of vision. First aid and seeking help from an eye care professional are the best steps to take after an eye injury.