How to Treat Eye Injuries

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Most eye injuries that happen regularly are minor in nature. They include things like getting a speck of dust in the eye, rubbing the eye because of allergies or even accidentally obtaining a black eye. Most of these minor injuries can be treated at home, but more serious ones must be given attention by a physician. But which is which and, if the injury can be treated at home, how does one go about accomplishing that? The steps below will walk you through the process.

Things You'll Need

  • Lighted magnifying mirror
  • Eye cup
  • Water
  • Eye patch
  • Cold packs
  • Sterile bandages, gauze and tape, or clean cloths
  • Eye patch
  • Allergy eye drops
  • Telephone
  • List of local opthamologists

How to Treat Eye Injuries

Determine the extent of the eye injury. Is it minor or serious? Minor injuries include things like getting sand or dirt in the eye or irritating the eye by rubbing due to allergies. Medium injuries could include getting a larger foreign body, like a small piece of plastic, wood, or metal, embedded in the eye; sustaining a black eye or other contusion caused by an accident or trauma; or even minor sunburn to the eye. More serious eye injuries could include scratching the cornea, obtaining a serious corneal burn from chemicals; objects that have penetrated the eye; unexplained eye hemorrhage; cuts in the eye and other major injuries.

Treat minor eye irritations by washing out the eye with warm, sterile water using an eye cup. Repeat the procedure at least two or three times or for about 10 minutes. Other options for washing out the eye include using a water fountain, hose or shower head. Just bend over so that the water stream runs constantly through the eye. Continue the process for about five minutes. If the debris isn't removed through this process, contact a physician (prefereably an opthamologist) right away.

Use eye drops that are specifically identified for allergy eyes to help soothe the itching and burning caused by allergies. If the eye drops don't have any effect, then contact a physician for a stronger prescription or other type of treatment.

Treat medium eye injuries caused by something penetrating the eye by covering the eye with an eye cup or patch taped in place and then calling for medical assistance from an opthamologist.

Treat minor eye cuts around but not in the eye by applying a sterile bandage or clean cloth and taping it in place. If the cut doesn't heal properly or any other symptoms occur, contact a physician immediately.

Treat an eye trauma like a black eye or a blow to the eye by applying a gentle cold compress to the eye to reduce swelling. Leave in place for 10-minute intervals at least four or five times within the first 36 to 48 hours. Also elevate the head to help reduce swelling. If the eye turns black and blue, loses normal vision, becomes painful, starts to bleed or drain any kind of discharge, becomes severely red, or experiences any other abnormalities, contact a physician (prefereably an opthamologist) immediately. Use aspirin or ibuprofen from pain. Both contain an anti-inflammatory that will also help reduce inflammation.

Treat chemical burns immediately. Chemical burns can happen because of anything from simple household cleaners splashed into the eye to aerosol sprays that get into the eyes to something more harmful like gasoline or acid thrown in the eyes. It is important to flush out as much of the chemical as possible from the eye using the procedure outlines in Step 2 above. Then contact a physician (prefereably an opthamologist) right away; following any further instructions that she outlines.

Seek professional treatment for burns to the eyes caused by flames, chemicals, caustic fumes, hot air or steam, sunlight or tanning lamps or other sources.

Seek professional treatment for any lacerations or punctures to the eye. In the meantime, protect the eye by covering it with a patch or cup taped into place.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep any bandages around the eye clean and dry.
  • Use a cloth between bandages and cold packs.
  • Call a physician right away of any type of infection is suspected.
  • Protect eyes from sunburn by wearing the appropriate type of sunglasses.
  • Never rub eyes as you can cause them further damage.
  • Do not apply pressure to the eye, especially if it has already suffered an injury.
  • Do not try to remove penetrating foreign bodies from the eye yourself.
  • Call a physician immediately if the eye comes out of the socket, partial or complete blindness occurs, severe pain occurs, vision becomes blurred or altered, or an extremely large object cuts into or lodges within the eye.
  • Do not use chemical cold packs around or on the eye area.
  • If bleeding occurs in the eye, do not take aspirin or ibuprofen as they contain ingredients that thin the blood and could make the bleeding worse.

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