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Eye injuries treatment

Our eyes are sensitive and can be damaged or injured in many ways.

The eyes can be injured by scratches, grit, fists, balls, cuts, chemicals or over exposure to the sun's rays.

Eye injuries can range from minor irritation to those which could cause vision loss.

The eyes may also be harmed by a more general injury to the head, such as fractures to surrounding bone that will need hospital treatment.

If the eye or eyelids are punctured by an object, or the eyeball has come out of its socket, this should be examined in hospital as soon as possible.

In general, if an eye injury causes any of these symptoms, medical attention should be sought:

  • Severe or lasting eye pain
  • Something stuck in the eye that won't wash out
  • Double vision
  • Reduced vision
  • Seeing flashing lights, spots, halos around lights or shadows
  • Blood seen in the eye
  • Pupil an unusual shape
  • Sensitive to bright lights
  • Cuts around the eye.

Eye injuries

Common eye injuries include:

Chemical exposure or foreign body in the eye: If the eyes have been exposed to chemicals or there's something in the eye, flush the eye out with plenty of clean water for 10-15 minutes. If you wear contact lenses, take them out first. If you are near a shower or garden hose, use it to create a gentle stream of cold water over the open eye. Otherwise lean over a sink and keep pouring water over the eye or eyes using a clean cupped hand.

Subconjunctival haemorrhage, sometimes from a blow to the eye: The eye will look red or bloodshot, but no specific treatment is needed. Try not to rub the eye as this could make things worse.

Corneal abrasions: This means a scratch to the front of the eye, sometimes from a finger nail or grit. This can be very painful and makes it hard to keep the eye open. Seek medical care promptly.

Radiation exposure, including from the sun or sun lamps or welding equipment. Special eye protection is needed when using sunbeds and in bright sunlight eyes should be protected with good quality sunglasses. If the eyes are exposed to harmful rays, painful keratitis can result. Seek medical attention to check the eyes for damage.

Traumatic iritis, sometimes from being prodded in the eye. This can cause light sensitivity. Seek medical attention to help prevent lasting vision problems.

Hyphaema, blood pooling in the eye after an injury: Seek medical care promptly.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on September 26, 2016

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