First aid for eye injury

We talk a lot about eye health, causes of eye problems and genetic predispositions, but what about events that happen without warning?  Yes, we’re talking eye injuries.

Eye injuries can take a number of forms.  An injury could be due to foreign particles in the eye such as dust or dirt, or it could be as the result of a trauma, perhaps caused by a wayward champagne cork or rubber band.  Other injuries could be from burns, exposure to bright light, or infections resulting from exposure to a particular chemical.

Whatever the cause, eye injuries can be traumatic and painful, and may lead to long-lasting damage to your vision. We suggest that you seek medical assistance if you believe you’ve sustained an eye injury and especially if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Pain, or trouble opening/closing your eye,
  • Difficulties in vision,
  • Blood in the white part of the eye,
  • Any cuts or abrasions to the eye,
  • An object that you can feel (or see) on the surface of the eye or under your eyelid
  • Differences in your eyes such as one moving better or looking different to the other.
Care for eye injuries

In all cases of eye injury we recommend you seek medical help as soon as you can, and in the meantime:

  • Don’t rub or touch your eye,
  • Don’t try and remove an object that is imbedded as you may cause more damage in doing so,
  • Don’t use any ointments or creams,
  • Do flush out your eyes with clean water if you’ve been exposed to chemicals (and check the safety instructions of the particular chemical for further information).

Of course prevention is better than cure.  Therefore it pays to understand the risks of any activity you are undertaking, and take measures to minimise the chance of eye injury.  That could be as simple as wearing protective eyewear for activities such as welding and yard work, storing chemicals and sharp objects out of reach so children can’t access them, and taking care with exposure to bright light through the use of UV protection glasses.

If you’ve suffered an eye injury in the past, or are concerned about the potential for eye injury based on the activities you undertake at work or at home, be sure to mention your concerns to your optometrist when you are next in for a consultation.