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Eye Injuries


What is an eye injury?

Any physical or chemical wound to the eye. An untreated eye injury may lead to vision loss or blindness. Any injury to the eye needs to be examined by an ophthalmologist. They are fairly common, with more than 1 million cases per year in India.

When to visit an ophthalmologist?

It is always good to visit an ophthalmologist sooner than waiting until you experience any symptoms or suffer an eye injury, as eyes are an indicator for a variety of diseases, sometimes of a serious underlying problem like an infection or a vision-impairing condition. We advise you to visit an ophthalmologist if you begin to notice any of the following symptoms.


What are the symptoms of an eye injury?

The symptoms of eye injuries vary depending on the extent and type of the injury. The symptoms can be noticed immediately after one has suffered an eye injury or may develop over time.
  • Tearing: This is one of the most common and immediate symptoms of an eye injury, where the eye begins to tear profusely. Excessive or persistent watery eyes post-injury.
  • Red eye: The white part of the eye (Sclera) becomes red (bloodshot) due to inflamed blood vessels.

  • Pain: Mild to severe pain in and around the eye and sensitivity to touch and movement.

  • Swelling: Puffiness around the eyeball, eyelids, and in some cases swelling of the entire face.

  • Bruising: Discoloration of the eyeball and/or around the eye. Commonly known as a black eye. It is often accompanied by swelling and redness of the eye.

  • Photophobia: The eye becomes sensitive to light. Discomfort around bright lights.

  • Decreased vision clarity: Black or grey specks or strings (floaters) drift through the field of vision. Flashing lights consistently appear in the field of vision (flashes). Vision may become blurry or two images of one object (double vision) might be seen.

  • Irregular eye movement: Eye movement becomes restricted and may be painful. Eyes begin to move independently.

  • Irregularity in eye appearance: There is a noticeable difference in the size of the pupils or maybe unusually large or small. Both eyes may not point in the same direction at the same time and do not line up with one another.

  • Bleeding: Red or black spots in the eye. It is usually harmless and caused by a broken blood vessel.


What are the types of eye injuries?

  • CORNEAL ABRASION: A corneal abrasion is generally a scratch in the clear tissue that covers the pupil and iris. A scratched cornea is usually harmless and will heal in 1 to 3 days.
  • OCULAR TRAUMA: Any injury to the eye, eyelid, and/or eye socket. Severe cases may even result in loss of vision. Ocular trauma includes:
    • Blunt trauma
    • Penetrating trauma
    • Chemical trauma
  • BLUNT TRAUMA: Injury to the eye or around the eye caused by a forceful impact with a dull object. It is one of the most common causes of eye injury.
  • PENETRATING TRAUMA: When a sharp object pierces the surface of the eye or eyelid.
  • CHEMICAL TRAUMA: Eye injury sustained when a chemical splash gets into the eye resulting in chemical burns, usually by accidental sprays or fumes.
  • ARC EYE: Inflammation of the cornea caused by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Welders and electrical workers are the most susceptible to arc eyes.
  • An accidental poke in the eye, flying dust, sand, mild chemicals, or any foreign object in the eye.
  • Sports injuries, assault, falls, vehicle crashes.
  • Air gun, BB gun, pellet gun, and paintball-related injuries.
  • Aerosol exposure, fireworks, and fumes from industrial chemicals found in batteries and cleaners.
  • Unacquainted with protective gear for the eyes.

For dust, sand, or foreign objects in the eye:

  • Flush the eye with saline solution or clear water.
  • Blinking slowly allows tears to flush out the particles.
  • Pull the upper eyelid over the lower eyelid to brush the particles stuck beneath the eyelid.
  • Follow up with an ophthalmologist to ensure all particles are removed and determine the severity of any potential corneal abrasion.


  • Do not rub the eye, as this may cause corneal abrasions.

For cuts or objects lodged in the eye:
  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Cover the eye if possible.


  • Do not attempt to remove or dislodge the object.
  • Do not rinse with water as this may cause an infection.
  • Do not rub or touch the eye.

For chemical burns:

  • Rinse the eye immediately with saline solution or clear water thoroughly.
  • Identify the chemical if possible.
  • Seek medical attention immediately.


  • Do not rub the eye.
  • Do not bandage the eye.

For blunt trauma:


  • Gently apply cold compression.
  • Seek medical attention.


  • Do not apply pressure.
  • Do not use frozen food.
  • Do not use home remedies for black eye treatment as a black eye may indicate a serious underlying injury.

For arc eye:


  • Wear protective eyewear to filter the radiation.
  • Consult with an ophthalmologist to determine the severity of the exposure.
  • An ophthalmologist can help relieve the pain with eye dilating drops and, anti-inflammatory drugs.


  • Avoid wearing contact lenses.
  • Do not look at bright lights directly.
  • Do not strain the eye by watching television or reading.

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