The most common eye injuries generally occur at Home, Work place or at Play. Accidental injuries in children are very common while playing.
Let’s find out what causes most eye injuries and how can we prevent them.
Scratch or Cut
A finger nail or any stick can accidentally get into the eye and scratch through the transparent layer on the front of your eye i.e. cornea. This can cause symptoms like blurring of vision, pain, irritation, intense watering, redness etc.
A small scratch may heal on its own. However, for larger scratches, you must see your eye specialist as soon as possible as this may need patching or application of a bandage contact lens.
Also, care must be taken to avoid superadded infections by preventing entry of water and frequent eye rubbing till the scratch heals completely.
Foreign Body in Eye
A small wooden or metallic foreign particle can get into the eye on the superficial surfaces and cause irritation, watering and redness in the eye. These can be removed by the eye doctor after just instilling numbing eye drops.
Sometimes sharp metal pieces can perforate the superficial structures to enter the deeper structures of the eye and this may need surgery for its removal.
Burns in the form of both chemical and thermal injuries are common at home and workplace.
Thermal burns due to welding arc, hot metals pieces generally occur in mechanics and electric technicians.
Some chemicals can cause serious injuries to the eyes. Most dangerous being alkalis like Chuna (used in Pan), drain cleaners, etc. Alkalis damage the ocular tissues by deeper penetration and can even lead to blindness. Acids like bleach can also cause eye injuries but they are less harmful compared to alkalis. Damage to the eye depends on the type of chemical and the duration it stays inside the eye.
As soon as there is any kind of chemical burn, best way to treat it is to flush out the eye with cool clean water for at least 10 minutes and see your eye specialist as soon as possible. It is a true eye emergency and needs to be taken care of immediately.
Blow to the Eye
An impact to the eye with a hard object like a ball, fist can damage various structures of eye including eyelids, muscles or bones surrounding the eye.
Depending on the impact, injury can be mild leading to just black eye or swelling around the eye to more serious effects like Bone fractures or bleeding inside the eye.
A CT Scan may be needed to look for Bone injuries and muscle entrapments.
Penetrating Injuries Causing Tears
Sometimes sharp objects may penetrate the eye tearing through the structures of eye and require immediate surgery to remove the sharp object from the eye and repair the torn structures.
How do we Prevent These Injuries?
Safety is the best way to prevent eye injuries.
Wearing safety goggles or glasses while handling the chemicals or while working around metals, and other sharp objects can prevent serious injuries to the eye. Wearing a helmet or an eye guard while playing contact sports is extremely important.
When to Call a Doctor?
The Basic rule is that when you have an eye injury, avoid touching, rubbing and applying any pressure on the eye.
It is better to see an eye doctor as soon as possible as even a seemingly mild injury may have an internal damage which may need urgent treatment.