Eye injuries can occur any time. It’s important to know what to do to protect your eye after an injury. In all instances, it’s important to get help quickly as it could make the difference between a total recovery and vision loss or blindness.
Contact your eye doctor any time you experience the following conditions:
- A wound, or tear around the eye, particularly on the eyelid
- There is blood in the fluid or white part of the eye
- You have any burning, irritation, or constant itching in one or both eyes
- One eye protrudes further than the other
- Eye movement is decreased, or vision is impaired
- The size of the pupils in your eyes is different
If you get a small particle in your eye (sand, an eyelash, etc.):
- DO NOT rub your eye as doing so could cause abrasions to your cornea
- Try lifting your upper lid over your lower lid to stimulate tears and hopefully dislodge whatever is in the eye
- Blink several times
- Use saline solution or eye drops
- If you can’t get the particle out, see a doctor immediately
Your eye has been cut, punctured, or an object is protruding:
- Gently cover the eye with a shield to keep it clean and protected. A clean paper cup will do in a pinch
- DO NOT try to remove the object from your eye
- DO NOT rub or apply pressure to the eye
- Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen, or other anti-inflammatory drugs as this may increase any bleeding
While things like soap or salt water can burn your eye, they typically don’t cause lasting damage. Being splashed with a chemical, such as acid, can have lasting effects including vision loss or corneal damage. Always wear protective eyewear when using harmful chemicals.
The most harmful eye burns come from substances such as ammonia, drain cleaners, oven cleaners, etc. Next in severity are things like battery acid, vinegar, and nail polish remover. Liquid soaps, detergent, or pepper spray can irritate the eyes, but usually don’t cause lasting damage.
If you experience a chemical burn:
- Hold your eye open as wide as possible and flush your eyes out with cool water for at least 15 minutes
- If you’re wearing contact lenses, remove them
- For severe burns, call 911 or go to the emergency room
If you get hit in the eye:
- If there are no breaks or tears in the eye or the surrounding skin, gently put a cold compress on the eye
- DO NOT apply any pressure or rub the eye
- If you develop a black eye, severe pain, or you experience changes in your vision, immediately contact your eye doctor, or go to the emergency room
- It doesn’t take a hard blow to cause major injury to the eye so it’s better to visit a doctor than risk loss of eyesight or permanent damage
Minimize the risk of eye injuries by wearing protective glasses when playing sports, swimming, using power tools or heavy equipment, and while handling dangerous liquids. The staff at See Island Eyecare are well-trained professionals who are always ready to help you maintain healthy eyes. Contact us today for more information about eye health or to make an appointment.