Nobody wants an injury, especially a serious one involving the eyes. It’s always best to have the right medical information when eye injuries happen. Cuts, scratches, and foreign objects (including liquids) coming in contact with the eyes are all common eye injuries, and they can all cause vision loss. Many (if not all) of these eye injuries are ones that are not planned, and they need prompt care right away.
Scratching your eye can be painful and scary. This is called a corneal abrasion and it can happen from a particle of dust, sand or something very small getting into your eye and then you rub your eye or blink. Seek medical attention right away for scratches, even if they seem small, as those scratches can become infected quickly without medication. Blindness can happen if the scratch is in the right area of your eye.
Lucky for you, most eye scratches only take about 2-3 days to heal, as the eye is one of the faster healing organs in the body. However, you may have pain and discomfort for a few days. An ophthalmologist can prescribe you various medications that you can put in your eyes that may include antibiotic ointments or drops. Some drops will numb your eye so you’re not feeling that pain while others will help with redness, swelling and more. It depends on how severe your eye injury is.
For dust, small hairs, or similar gunk in your eye, try washing your eye with eye drops or even clean tap water. An easy way to do this is to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Make a cup with your hands, gather lukewarm water in your hands and place your open eye into the water, moving your eye around. This will hopefully flush out the particles in your eye causing you irritation and pain. However, the eye drops made specifically for the eyes are the first go-to option we recommend before washing your eye out.
For foreign objects lodged in your actual eye, seek emergency medical attention right away. A medical doctor and eye professional may have to work together to remove the object while preserving your vision.
For chemical splashes, wash out your eye immediately and seek emergency medical help, as chemicals can cause blindness. Acids may sting and burn a lot, but are easier to clean out than alkali substances. Alkali substances are more basic and won’t hurt as much immediately, but they do much more damage. Examples are cleaners for the oven or toilet. Wash out your eyes or run your eyes under lukewarm water for about 15 minutes and seek help from an emergency center or urgent care center immediately.
Red, painful eyes or discharge are common signs of eye infections and these can be considered eye injuries because they can affect vision permanently. A common eye infection is “pink eye”, which is commonly known as “conjunctivitis”. This condition can be spread from person to person, especially if you share makeup or pick up the bacteria/virus and touch your eyes. With this infection, you may experience a yellow discharge coming from the eye, red eyes and even swollen eyelids.
Uveitis, red eyes from chlorine, ocular herpes, corneal ulcers and more are just a few eye infections you can get with somewhat similar symptoms. Always wash your hands when you’ve been out in public and avoid touching your eyes to avoid infections. Severe infections can lead to tissue damage. When you see redness, discharge, swollen eyes or eyelids and any other painful or abnormal symptoms, call your eye doctor right away.
If you’re hit in the face and you don’t see any foreign object in the eye or eye bleeding, an ice pack is likely the first course of action. Icing the injury will help reduce how much the area around your eye swells. This can help you to be more comfortable and in less pain as the tissues heal. That’s because inflammation is fluid that can stretch the skin and irritate the area even though it protects the injured tissues. Lots of fluid can lead to quite uncomfortable swelling, which you can reduce with some ice. Don’t be surprised if the eye swells shut.
The area may experience dark bruises for a week or so. It’s also normal for the bruises to be yellow or green in color as the tissue heals. However, with very hard hits, it’s always a good idea to see your eye doctor to make sure no internal tissue damage has happened and that there are no broken bones.
Sometimes, eye issues can be confusing. Is blurry vision an eye injury or a health condition? If your symptoms come on slowly, they are not considered eye injuries or eye emergencies. If the blurry vision happens suddenly or comes after an injury or accident, you should call the eye doctor for a consultation. If you’re ever in doubt, call the doc. Millions of people get blurry vision over time, which is likely nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or a similar problem developing. There are easy treatments for conditions that come-on slowly.
Most patients will know eye injuries and emergencies when they happen. With anything serious, seek medical attention immediately, as failure to do so can lead to permanent tissue damage and vision loss. For any questions you may have about your eye health or eye injuries, call Peeper’s Optical at (303) 333-2800!