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 eye.
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 attention.
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 symptoms.
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.
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.
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.
Most minor eye injuries can be treated at home.
More specific home treatment can be used for certain types of eye injuries.
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 injury assessed.
|Try a nonprescription medicine to help treat your fever or pain:|
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.
|Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:|
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:
The following tips may help prevent eye injuries.
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 cause injury.
Teach your children about eye safety.
Any eye injury that appears unusual for a child's age should be evaluated as possible child abuse.
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 with you.
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine|
|Last Revised||December 23, 2011|
Last Revised: December 23, 2011
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.