Dealing with eye injuries

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Eye injuries can occur in any sport or physical activity. The likelihood of losing partial or full vision can occur if there is an injury to the eye area. Whether the injury was brought about by a thrown object, dirt speck or finger poke, it is vital that appropriate treatment is started.

Assessment of acute injuries

  • Check the area surrounding the eye for discoloration, swelling, malformations and eyelid motion
    A black eye is managed by applying a cold compress for 10-20 minutes.
  • Feel for any soreness and bony irregularities around the eye socket
  • Examine the eye as well as the mucous lining for any foreign objects, blood or other deformities
  • Check the pupils (they must be equal in size, become smaller if exposed to light and grow bigger if exposed to the dark)
  • Check for vision clearness by instructing the individual to look at an object with the unaffected eye covered. If the individual complains of double vision, blurred vision, floating black specks or flashing light, it indicates a serious eye injury.

What are the common types of eye injuries?

  • Black eye – this is a contusion to the surrounding tissue. This is managed by applying a cold compress for 10-20 minutes.
  • Foreign bodies in the eye – any foreign object such as dirt speck or piece of glass can enter the eye and trigger intense pain and disability. The treatment involves flushing the eye with water and consulting a doctor.
  • Cornea abrasions – this injury occurs if a foreign object scratches the cornea and causes intense pain, light sensitivity and watery eye. You should patch the eye and consult a doctor right away.
  • Hyphema – this involves the buildup of blood in the anterior chamber of the eye, usually due to blunt trauma. The vision might be partly or fully blocked. This is considered as one of the serious eye injuries that necessitates immediate medical attention.
  • Orbital blowout – this injury occurs if the ridge of the eye sockets has been struck by an object, resulting to a fracture to the area where the eye muscles are attached. This is characterized by bleeding around the lower borders of the eye along with double vision and pain during eye movement.
  • Retinal detachment – this occurs from a blow to the eye or neighboring soft tissue.

Always bear in mind that any eye injuries might lead to disability. If in doubt, it is vital to bring the individual to a healthcare facility so that further assessment can be done.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on eye injuries is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage eye injuries, register for a first aid and CPR course with Mississauga First Aid.

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