What to Do Guide for the Four Most Common Eye Injuries

Everyone has experienced the stinging, burning, watering reaction to something getting in your eye. We aren’t sure what to do so we try all sorts of things to try to get the offending object out. I’ve put together a “What to do Guide for the Four Most Common Eye Injuries”.

Preventing an eye injury is the best thing you can do to maintain your eye health. Wearing eye protection is the most effective way to prevent eye cuts, objects in the eye, blows to the eye and other dangerous mishaps.

With summer quickly approaching we may find ourselves confronted with an eye injury that we didn’t see coming. In the event that you are unable to protect yourself from eye injuries, here are some tips to help you navigate an eye injury.

How to Safely Remove Foreign Objects From the Eye

Whether it’s a grain of sand, paint chip, insect or some other particle, here are suggestions on what to do, and equally important, what not to do when an object gets in your eye:

  • Do not rub your eye to get the object out, you may end up scratching your cornea by applying pressure and moving the foreign object around.
  • Do not try to remove an object that is penetrating or embedded in the eye. You must see your eye doctor immediately if you have an embedded object in your eye.
  • Use a dampened cotton swab to gently remove an object that is not embedded.
  • Watering eyes are your body’s way of trying to flush the object out of your eye.
  • Try rinsing your eye with eye wash or water to flush out the particle.
  • If you are not certain that you got the particle out, see your eye doctor.

How to Safely Clean Chemicals out of the Eye

Household cleaners and other chemicals that can splash into the eye can cause serious damage, and requires immediate first aid to prevent eye injury:

  • Immediately use tepid warm water to flush/rinse out the eye right away.
  • Do not cover or put anything over the eye.
  • Stand underneath a showerhead or place your head beneath a running faucet of tepid water. You may need to use both hands to keep the injured eye open while flushing it.
  • Flush the eye for at least 15 minutes, keeping the eye wide open and allowing the water to run over and cleanse it.
  • After following these steps, go to an emergency room immediately.

How to Treat a Blow to the Eye

If you get with a ball or some other object with force; or run into something and sustain an injury in or near your eye, here is what you should do to treat it:

  • Gently hold a cold compress or ice pack against the eye, but do not put pressure against it.
  • Keep your head elevated to minimize swelling.
  • Go to your eye doctor’s office or the emergency room if you experience extended pain or if your vision is affected.

What To Do if you Sustain an Eye Cut or Puncture Wound

This type of eye injury requires the immediate attention of an eye doctor. If your eye or eyelid has been cut or punctured in any way, do not attempt to wash the eye or remove anything stuck in the eye. Here are some immediate first aid tips for cuts or punctures in and around the eye (These are not a replacement for seeing your eye doctor just measures to take before you see your eye doctor):

  • Avoid rubbing the eye or surrounding skin.
  • Protect the eye from inadvertent rubbing by covering the eye with a rigid, circular object (cutting out the bottom of a paper cup will work in a pinch).
  • Do not put pressure on the eye while holding up the protective covering, in case there is a foreign body inside the cut.
  • Affix the protective covering over the eye using a piece of tape.
  • Go to an eye doctor or emergency room right away.

My hope is that no one will have reason to use any of these tips, but if you do have an eye emergency, now you know just what to do. In the event you do sustain an injury it’s always a good idea to see an eye doctor to get your eye checked out. Remember to safeguard your eyes as much as possible with protective eyewear so that you don’t need to use eye first aid.