It's common for a speck of dirt to get blown
into your eye, for soap to wash into your eye, or for you to accidentally bump
your eye. For these types of minor eye injuries, home treatment is usually all
that is needed.
See a picture of the
Some sports and recreational
activities increase the risk of eye injuries.
Direct blows to the eye can damage
the skin and other tissues around the eye, the eyeball, or the bones of the eye
socket. Blows to the eye often cause bruising around the eye (black eye) or
cuts to the eyelid. If a blow to the eye or a
cut to the eyelid occurred during an accident, be sure to check for injuries to
the eyeball itself and for other injuries, especially to the head or face.
Concern about an eye injury may cause you to miss other injuries that need
Burns to the eye may be caused by
chemicals, fumes, hot air or steam, sunlight, tanning lamps, electric hair
curlers or dryers, or welding equipment. Bursts of flames or flash fires from
stoves or explosives can also burn the face and eyes.
For more information, see the topic
Burns to the Eye.
A foreign object in the
eye, such as dirt, an eyelash, a contact lens, or makeup, can cause eye
In the case of a car air bag inflating, all three types
of eye injuries can occur. The force of impact can cause a blow to the eye,
foreign objects may enter the eye, and chemicals in the air bag can burn the
Eye injuries can be prevented by using protective eyewear.
Wear safety glasses, goggles, or face shields when working with power tools
or chemicals or when doing any activity that might cause an object or substance to
get into your eyes. Some professions, such as health care and construction, may
require workers to use protective eyewear to reduce the risk of foreign objects
or substances or body fluids getting in the eyes.
After an eye
injury, you need to watch for
vision changes and
symptoms of an infection. Most minor eye injuries can
be treated at home. See Home Treatment for first aid
Check your symptoms to decide if and when
you should see a doctor.
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Most minor eye injuries can be
treated at home.
More specific home treatment can be used for certain types of
If your eye symptoms are not completely gone after 24 hours of
home treatment, see your doctor.
Applying first aid measures for
an eye injury in a child may be difficult, depending on the child's age, size,
and ability to cooperate. Having another adult help you treat the child is
helpful. Stay calm and talk in a soothing voice. Use slow, gentle movements to
help the child remain calm and cooperative. A struggling child may need to be
held strongly so that first aid can be started and the seriousness of the eye
Talk to your child’s doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home
The following tips may help prevent eye
Eye injuries are common
in children, and many can be prevented. Most eye injuries happen in older
children. They happen more often in boys than in girls. Toys—from crayons to
toy guns—are a major source of injury, so check all toys for sharp or pointed
parts. Household items, such as elastic cords, can also strike the eye and
Teach your children about eye safety.
Any eye injury that appears unusual for a child's age should
be evaluated as possible child
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
If you have had an
eye injury that affects your vision, have someone else drive you to your
doctor. If you are wearing contact lenses, remove them and take your glasses
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your
condition by being prepared to answer the following questions.
December 23, 2011
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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