How to Handle an Eye Emergency
Whether we are playing a sport, cleaning the house using chemical agents, or just opening a bottle of champagne to celebrate a special moment in life — every day, our eyes are exposed to many dangers. The curved shape of the eye protects the eye, and it can also be the target of trauma. All it takes is just a quick accident for the eye to be injured.
What Is an Eye Emergency?
An eye emergency can happen due to a shock, a foreign object, or a chemical product. Any eye injury should always to be taken seriously, and a consultation with your eye doctor is a must, being that pain alone is not always enough to assess the urgency.
What Are Some Causes of an Eye Emergency?
- Cuts and Scratches: Rubbing the eye when a foreign object lodges itself, or getting poked in the eye with a sharp object can result in scratches or cuts.
- Chemical Injury to the Eye: Liquids, chemical powders, aerosol, or gases can enter the eye during daily activities and, if not treated, can affect vision.
- A Foreign Object in the Eye: The eye is exposed to foreign objects at work and play. Sharp particles that include metal, wood, or fragments of a tool can enter the eye and cause an eye emergency.
- Trauma: A sudden accident related to a sports injury can lead to bleeding under the skin, which causes a black eye, which demands care to immediate attention to the cornea.
First Aid Treatment for Eye Injuries
Try to keep the person affected calm and don’t panic! Here are a few steps before you reach out to your eye doctor or seek emergency care:
Chemical Burns and Splashes in the Eye:
- Tilt the person’s face down and sideways. Flush the eye with fresh water.
- If both eyes are affected, hold the person’s face under a sink or shower to flush both eyes.
- Allow the running water to rinse the eye(s) for 15-20 minutes.
- If the person is wearing contact lenses, try removing the contact lens after rinsing the chemical out from the eye(s).
- Look for information on the chemical that got into the eye as some chemicals cause more eye damage than others.
- Seek emergency medical treatment right away!
If Your Eye Has Been Cut or Punctured
- Gently place a shield (protective cover) over the eye. The bottom of a paper cup taped to the bones surrounding the eye can serve as a shield until you get medical attention.
- DO NOT press the shield against the eye.
- DO NOT rinse with water.
- DO NOT remove any objects that are stuck in the eye.
- DO NOT rub or apply pressure to the eye.
- DO NOT take aspirin, ibuprofen, or other non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs thin the blood and may increase bleeding.
- After you have finished protecting the eye, get emergency medical help.
For All Other Eye Injuries
Injuries other than grit in the eye or small scratches to the eye should be considered potentially serious.
- DO NOT touch, rub, or apply pressure to the eye.
- DO NOT try to remove any objects stuck in the eye.
- Do not apply ointment or medication to the eye.
- Over-the-counter eye drops can be more painful or make the injury worse.
- Prescription medications should only be used for precisely the prescribed condition, not for emergency treatment.
- See a doctor as soon as possible.
- If you can’t get to an eye doctor right away, go to the emergency room.
Always wear protective eye gear when playing sports, cleaning with toxic chemicals, or using power tools.
Be cautious and keep your eyes healthy! If you are experiencing any changes in your eyesight, contact us TODAY!
Reference: American Academy of Ophthalmology