It’s an unfortunate reality that the most common eye injuries are generally unavoidable and the result of an accident or a stroke of plain bad luck. However, these injuries can be severe and so it’s important to familiarise yourself with them.
For the parents out there, you’re guaranteed to have to deal with an eye injury sooner or later. If you can tell the difference between a simple poked eye and a surface scratch, then you can reassure yourself and your children nice and easily.
Anyway, let’s take a (figurative) look at the most common eye injuries.
Also known as corneal abrasion, a scratch on the surface of your eyeball can come from almost anywhere: an errant branch on an evening stroll, your own fingernail as you try to dig sleep from your morning eyes…
First and foremost: do not rub your eyes. It’s the greatest temptation and the habit you must avoid most actively. Simply keep your eye closed, or covered with a light eye shield (like a paper cup) until you can visit your optometrist.
Second thing: visit the optometrist. If untended, scratches can induce bacterial infection and possibly lead to serious harm in as little as 24 hours. Your eye will feel uncomfortable. Redness and sensitivity to light are common, so try not to worry until you’ve seen a specialist.
Anything involving harsh impact should be inspected by your eye specialist as soon as possible.
Whether it’s an accidental elbow at the ice rink or a stray frisbee on the beach, blunt trauma will invariably cause a black eye. Swelling and redness will ease, but to check for more severe damage you should always visit a doctor. If you’re having trouble opening your eye, don’t force it.
If your glasses break while you’re wearing them or a piece of metal/wood lands on your eye, seek immediate medical help. Do not attempt to remove the object on your own. The doctor will remove the debris as soon as possible to minimise the chance of infection, scarring or permanent vision impairment.
If it’s not water, it could be a problem. Even splashing a little shampoo into your eye can be irritating and concerning, so it’s important to take any chemical burn on your eye very seriously.
Though “acid burn” is a horrific phrase, most common acids will cause no lasting damage to your eye. There will be redness and burning, but a thorough rinsing will usually take care of things. Try running your head under lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes before visiting a specialist.
Products such as oven cleaner and bleaches are generally very dangerous if spilled or rubbed into your eye. Always use gloves when cleaning and never touch your face.
Alkali often causes minimal redness and irritation straight away, however the long-term damage can be very severe. Seek medical assistance immediately and honestly describe the injury as best you can.