Handling Eye Injuries: "You're gonna shoot your eye out!"
We've heard it before. Movies have made the line a popular joke,
but in reality, eye injuries are no laughing matter. The simplest
scratch can cause serious and permanent vision loss, even blindness. In
the United States alone, it is estimated that 2.4 million eye
injuries occur each year resulting in nearly one million people
suffering from loss of sight.
Whether an injury is suffered at
the workplace, playing sports or from doing projects around the home,
it is extremely important to be able to recognize an eye injury when
it happens. If you have or witness a person with the following, medical
attention should be sought immediately:
- Pain or
- The pupil is of an unusual size or
- A cut or torn eyelid
- Blood is evident in the
- One eye moves differently or not as well as the other
- An object is in the eye or under the lid and is not easily
- One eye protrudes more than the other
There are a multitude of scenarios in which eye injuries may
occur. A great way to reduce damage is to know the proper first aid
steps to take in between the time when the injury is inflicted and
when you see an eye care professional.
If you or a person has
some sort of speck or particle in the eye, do not rub
the eye. The eye should be thoroughly flushed out with water to wash
away the particle. If the irritation and redness do not subside, you
should call your eye doctor.
What should you do if there
is a cut, puncture or foreign object in the eye?
Again, it is imperative not to rub the eye. You should also not make
any attempts to remove any objects lodged in your eye. And most
importantly, seek medical attention right away.
Chemical burns are particularly dangerous. Open the
eye as wide as possible and using any drinkable water, begin flushing
the eye out and get medical care right away. The eye should be opened
as wide as possible and be flushed for at least fifteen minutes. If
the burn was caused by a caustic or basic solution, the eye should
continue to be flushed while on the way to your doctor or emergency
A blow to the eye can be treated with a cold compress that
is applied gently, but without pressure to the eye. If the compress
doesn't do the job of relieving the pain, call your doctor. More
importantly, if you are having trouble seeing or there is bleeding or
discoloration of the eye, head to your eye doctor immediately.
More importantly, if you are having trouble seeing or there is
bleeding or discoloration of the eye, head to your eye doctor
So while the "You're gonna shoot your eye out!" line
is pretty funny onscreen, it isn't quite as humorous when an accident
really happens. It is important to know what to do when emergencies
pop up. Remember, one of the best solutions to taking care of eye
injury is avoiding them all together. About 90% of all injuries
can be avoided simply by wearing the appropriate protective
From Prevent Blindness America; "The Scope of the Eye Injury Problem" at PreventBlindness.org