Eye injuries should usually be treated as an emergency. The promptness of treatment can mean the difference between minor eye irritation and permanent injury. The following suggestions for first aid of the eye are meant to be informational. It is important to go to the nearest emergency room or see your eye doctor immediately.
BURNS to the eye can be chemical, thermal, radiation, or electrical. If chemicals are splashed in the eyes, immediately irrigate using the nearest water supply for at least 15 minutes. If you are wearing contact lenses, take them out right away. Then continue to irrigate the eyes, and see your eye doctor immediately.
BLUNT TRAUMA causing a black eye should be treated with cold compresses for 15 minutes. Always remove your contact lenses. X-rays may be required to check for broken bones. The eye should be dilated to look for internal damage such as retinal detachment. If the eye is cut, lacerated, or has a penetrating injury do not irrigate with water. Do not attempt to remove the contact lenses. Cover the eye with a gauze pad and go to the emergency room or to see your eye doctor.
A FOREIGN OBJECT in the eye can be frustrating because it is difficult to see. You should first try to irrigate the eye, and if it doesn’t wash out go directly to your eye doctor. Trying to manually remove the foreign body is not recommended because this can cause more damage.
PREVENTION is the best medicine for eye injuries. Be aware of eye hazards and wear appropriate safety eyewear. At your next eye examination tell your optometrist about your work environment and your hobbies so that he/she can advise you about eye protection.