Common eye injuries and how to treat them

The eye is an extremely delicate organ that has to be in perfect working order for you to see properly.

Some of us can be careless towards the health of our eyes; this could range from rubbing your eyes relentlessly to sleeping with your contact lenses in.


However, even if we are careful, accidents can happen that may also result in an eye injury.


Here is a list of a few common eye injuries and how to treat them.


Can hitting your head cause eye problems?


Having a blow to your eye can cause various injuries, some not as serious as others.


Black eye


If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to have had a black eye, then the damage done can be more than what you can physically see on the surface of your skin.


You can get a black eye from being hit in the face. Sometimes the bruising is simply due to the capillaries around the surface of the eye being burst, however there could also be internal injuries within your eye that you might not realise at first.


To rule out this possibility, visit your Optometrist soon for a complete check-up. In the meantime, to treat a black eye at home you can place an ice pack over your eyes to reduce swelling.


Traumatic Iritis


Iritis is an inflammation of the iris - the coloured part surrounding the pupil - that can be caused by trauma to the eye. Visit your optometrist for advice on what medical treatment you may need, which can range from steroid eye drops to oral medications.


If left untreated, there is a chance that Iritis could develop into Glaucoma, Cataracts or other eye complications that may mean a risk of permanent decreased vision.


Orbital blowout fracture


This happens when breaks or cracks in the bones of the face that surround the eye, which can also push the eyeball further back into the eye socket. This is a very serious injury and needs urgent medical attention, so either get yourself straight down the hospital or call the emergency services.


Eye and vision problems can be caused by a head injury - such as whiplash from a car accident - so it is incredibly important to seek medical help if you have any concerns.



What to do when you’ve got something in your eye



Scratched eye – corneal abrasion


Corneal abrasion is when the cornea which is the clear part at the front of the eye is damaged almost like grazing your knee, this then makes it an open wound so increases the risk of infection.


Some of the things corneal abrasion can be caused by would be:


  • Getting grit, dirt, sawdust, sand, ash in your eye

  • Having a foreign body like an eyelash or hair in your eye

  • Rubbing your eyes aggressively or scratching it with your fingernail or your child’s fingernail

  • Dry soft lenses or gas permeable contact lenses

  • Improperly cleaned contact lenses


If you suspect you have scratched your eye it is important to see an Optometrist immediately.


If minor, abrasions sometimes can be treated with non-preserved lubricating drops to keep your eye moist and comfortable while your eye's natural healing process takes place.



Getting chemicals in the eye


Most chemical burns are usually contracted by getting liquid splashed in the eye.


Knowing which chemical has entered your eye can make a lot of difference; regardless both of these types of chemical burns can be very damaging and need immediate medical attention.


Acid in your eye


The damage done by exposure to an acid depends on its strength. Acids are generally less harmful than alkali substances, although they can cause immediate reaction, which is usually pain, redness and burning.


Acids can be found in many things ranging from car batteries to bleach.


Alkali chemical in your eye


Although an alkali chemical burn normally doesn’t have an immediate reaction they can be more damaging in the long run. Alkali chemicals that have a high pH will more than likely penetrate through the surface of the eye and can cause severe injury to both the external structures like the cornea and the internal structures like the lens.


There are different sorts of alkali chemicals. They can be found in cleaning agents, fertilisers, drain cleaners and even air bags.


Chemical burns - eye treatment


When coming into contact with one of these burns your first thought should be to rinse/flush your eye out with water for at least 15 minutes.


When you have done this, or whilst you’re doing this, you should contact your optometrist/doctor or dial 111 to see what they suggest your next steps should be.


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If you have any concerns about your the health of your eyes or your vision, whether following an accident or not, it is important that you seek professional help. Find your local independent optometrist by entering your postcode.

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