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Emergency Eye Care: Common Eye Injuries & Treatment

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Emergency Eye Care: Common Eye Injuries & Treatment

A close-up of an eye of a woman with a black eye.

Your eyes are one of the most important parts of your body, allowing you to see and interact with the world around you. But they’re almost one of the most vulnerable organs and can be damaged or injured in many different situations. Proper eye care is essential, and you should always try to protect your eyes.

Whether it’s a contusion like a black eye, a scratch, a burn, or any kind of other damage, it’s important that you know what to do in case of an eye injury. While many of these injuries can be treated with cleanliness, cool water, and rest, they can also be much more serious than they appear. If you receive any damage to your eye, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

What to Do if You Get a Black Eye

A black eye is a type of eye contusion that results in discolouration around the eye, but it isn’t the only type of contusion there is. Eye contusions can refer to any kind of damage to the area around the eye caused by a blow or trauma. These can lead to pain, bruising, discolouration, swelling, or irritation. 

If necessary, you can take pain medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve pain. However, if the damage is severe, you develop a headache, or you start to notice problems with your vision, you should seek medical attention. 

If you have an eye contusion of any form, you should apply ice or a cold compress immediately to the affected area. This can help reduce swelling or pain in the eye. It’s important that you rest the eye as much as you can to avoid further injury and give yourself the time needed to heal properly. 

What to Do if You Scratch Your Eye

A scratch to the eye, most often a corneal abrasion, is any kind of scratch to the surface of your eyeball. It can be caused by many different things, from a fingernail when you’re rubbing your eye to a contact lens being placed incorrectly. If the scratch is large, you experience severe pain, or you notice any redness or vision problems, seek medical attention immediately.

The first thing you should do is rinse the eye with clean water or a clean saline solution. This can help remove particles or dirt that could potentially have caused the scratch. Don’t rub your eye, especially if it’s irritated—this can make it worse.

If you have lubricating eye drops, you can try them here to help promote healing and reduce discomfort. There are many kinds of eye drops available that are designed to help soothe eye irritations. It’s important to cover the eye if you’re worried about further damage.

It helps to avoid certain activities for at least a few days while your eye begins the healing process. Avoid wearing contact lenses or looking at bright lights, and don’t rub your eye!

What to Do if You Burn Your Eye 

Burns to the eye can be caused by several factors, including chemicals, radiation, or heat. These can be very serious and often require medical attention. While there are steps you can take to treat a burn to the eye immediately, you should always seek medical attention as soon as possible.

The first thing you should do is rinse your eye for at least 15 minutes with cool, clean water. This is best performed at an eye wash station if you have access to one. By rinsing the eye immediately, you can flush out any residual chemicals or debris. If you’re wearing contact lenses when the burn occurs, remove them immediately before rinsing.

Do not touch or rub the eye other than to remove a contact lens. This can lead to infection or the spreading of potentially harmful chemicals to your skin. Cover the eye if needed, and seek medical attention. 

A senior man and his female optometrist performing an eye exam.

What to Do if a Foreign Object Is in Your Eye

If any kind of foreign object gets stuck or embedded in your eye, it can cause extreme pain or discomfort. If this happens to you, seek medical attention immediately. If this is not an immediate possibility, there are some steps you can take to help the situation, but you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

First, avoid rubbing your eye at all costs. This could lead to scratching your eye, shifting the object, or pushing it further into your eye. Try to keep your eye still if possible, to reduce the possibility of moving the object around and causing further damage.

Try blinking frequently, as your eye may produce more tears to dislodge the object. They may be able to flush the object out of your eye. If blinking doesn’t remove the object, immediately flush your eye with cool, clean water to try and dislodge it. Make sure your head is tilted to the side so that the affected eye is facing downwards—gravity may help dislodge it!

If the object is visible and isn’t embedded in your eye, you may be able to carefully remove it with a damp and cool cloth. Be extremely careful not to push the object further into your eye. 

If the object is embedded in your eye, do not attempt to remove it under any circumstances. Seek medical attention immediately. 

How to Prevent Eye Injuries

While there isn’t a guaranteed way to avoid ever dealing with an eye injury, there are many steps you can take that can significantly reduce the likelihood of it occurring.

You should always wear protective safety gear when working with or handling anything that could potentially damage your eye. Protective goggles are available in most stores and should be worn when doing any activity that can cause damage to your eyes.

Be extremely cautious when handling chemicals or tools that could cause damage. It also helps to practice proper eye hygiene in your day-to-day routines. Wash your hands often and avoid touching or rubbing your eyes if your hands are dirty. If you wear contact lenses, ensure they’re stored in a safe and sterile way.

If you contract any kind of eye injury, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Keeping Your Eyes Healthy

One of the best ways to help keep your eyes healthy is to schedule regular comprehensive eye exams. An optometrist can give you advice on how to practice proper eye safety and can help catch any potentially developing conditions early. Schedule an appointment with us here at Annik Eye Care today to speak with a caring and educated professional about eye safety!

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