What are eye injuries?
Over one million people suffer eye injuries each year. Eye mishaps are among the most commonly treated injuries in hospital emergency rooms.
The structure of the face is designed to protect the eyes. The eyeball is set into a socket surrounded by a bony ridge and the eyelids can close quickly to form a protective barrier. Eye injuries are quite common, however, and can damage the surrounding structures and cause a loss of vision.
First aid for eye injuries
Particles in the Eye
Never rub a particle that is in the eye. Lift the upper lid over the lower lid, allowing the lashes to brush the speck off the inside of the upper lid. Blink a few times to encourage the eye to move the particle out naturally. If the particle does not come out, keep your eye closed and seek medical attention.
Blows to the Eye
Apply an ice-cold compress immediately for about 15 minutes to reduce pain and swelling. A black eye or blurred vision could signal internal eye damage. See you ophthalmologist immediately.
Bandage the eye lightly and seek medical help immediately. Do not attempt to wash out the eye or remove an object stuck in the eye. Never apply hard pressure to the injured eye or eyelid.
Flood the eye with warm water immediately, using your fingers to keep the eye open as wide as possible. Hold your head under a faucet or pour water into the eye from any clean container for at least 15 minutes, continuously and gently. Roll the eyeball as much as possible to wash out the eye. Do not use an eyecup. Do not bandage the eye. Seek medical help immediately after these steps are taken.
How can eye injuries be avoided?
About 90 percent of all eye injuries are preventable with the use of appropriate safety eyewear. Any injury to the eye should be examined by a doctor immediately to determine its seriousness and to prevent vision loss. Below are some tips to help prevent eye injuries at home, at work, at play, and with children.
Avoiding eye injuries at home
- Wash your hands after using household chemicals.
- Wear chemical safety goggles when using hazardous solvents and detergents, and do not mix cleaning agents.
- Turn spray nozzles away from your face.
- Wear recommended protective goggles, helmets, and safety gear
- Use guards on all power equipment.
- Wear ultraviolet (UV)-protective sunglasses.
- Never look directly at the sun, especially during an eclipse.
Avoiding eye injuries at work
- Wear recommended work-related protective gear.
- Wear glasses/contacts with the correct prescription.
- Avoiding eye injuries at play
- Wear recommended protective eyewear when playing sports.
- A helmet with a polycarbonate face mask or wire shield should be worn if recommended for sports being played.
- Avoiding eye injuries with children
- Select toys that are appropriate for the child’s age and activity level.
- Provide adequate supervision during activities, like arts and crafts, that use sharp objects.
- Do not permit a child to play with projectile toys such as pellet guns, or bows and arrows.
- Beware of items in playgrounds and play areas that pose potential eye hazards.
- Keep all hazardous cleaning supplies and sprays out of the reach of children.
- Keep children away from fireworks.
- Keep children away from lawn mowers in use, as debris may be projected into the air.
- At school, teach children to wear protective eye wear when performing scientific or lab experiments.
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