Eye injuries or eye trauma refers to a case when your eyes are hit by an external physical force directly into it. How bad the trauma is depending on the impact; sometimes it can affect the eyeball or just the surrounding area including some tissues and bones. This articles will guide more about common causes of eye injury, how to diagnose and treatments for eye injury.
+ Common causes of eye injury
There are so many reasons causing eye injuries. You can be negligent while working and get caught in the eye, or you can injure yourself from a fight. However, these causes below are the most common:
A scratch in the eye
Scratched eye or also called Corneal Abrasion happens commonly in people when there is something strange or a dust particle into the eyes.
The person will feel itchy or irritated and rub the eyes causing injury on the eye’s surface. This can lead to eye redness, cause severe sensitivity to light and make your eyes exposed to infections.
In worst cases, bacteria entering through a scratch and causing internal damage can lead to permanent blindness if not treated timely.
So, it is important to know that when you have a scratched eye, don’t try to rub or even cover it with a patch since a dark, warm place is ideal for bacteria and fungi to grow. And finally, go to see a doctor immediately to have it checked.
People often get their eye caught by a sharp object such as a fish hook or metal. If you found yourself in this case, you need to seek emergency medical attention immediately and let the experts removing the object for you.
A piece of metal is a very common thing that causes eye injury. Depending on how it entering your eyes, sometimes it only causes a scratch on the surface but not inside the eye’s chamber yet.
Chemical burn is one of the most dangerous causes of eye injury because it can leave the victim permanent blindness.
People who work in harsh chemical environments can get splashed or sprayed in the eyes of those toxic substances unexpectedly. Some can make you feel a slight burning sensation or sting; others can give more serious damage to the eyes.
Some popular harmful chemicals are including:
- Acid: any type of mild acid can make your eyes reddened and burning, but it can be rinsed off easily by water.
- Alkali: Although Alkali can be seemingly dangerous, the effect such as eye pain or redness is not as much as acids. These chemicals can be found in some cleaning agents or chalk dust
Accidents happen during sport is inevitable. Struck from a fast-moving baseball can result in the swollen eye.
This type of accident not only causes you some pains but also leaves some bruises around it. If the object moves fast and the force is strong, it can potentially damage internally.
Although it may sound serious and scary, this eye injury called “Subconjunctival Hemorrhages” usually looks worse than it actually is.
Subconjunctival Hemorrhages can occur commonly in everyone and not necessarily from a serious injury. Even a minor injury could make your eye bleeding.
Eye bleeding does not literally mean that blood keeps coming out from your eyes as you might think. In fact, it is the case that a blood vessel that lies between the sclera and the conjunctiva is broken and causes blood leakage. You can sometimes see it on the entire eye or just a small area of the eyes.
Subconjunctival Hemorrhages does not cause any pain or serious consequences to the eyes and either require treatments. It is self-healing.
Hyphema is a serious injury when your eye is bleeding inside between the cornea and the iris. This eye injury requires proper treatments. Getting hit by a stick, a bat or get punched in the eyes are common causes of Hyphema.
It is not easy to tell whether the injury is serious because hyphema can only be detected by a doctor’s check. And some only appear a few days later when it turns serious.
Traumatic Iritis occurs when the surrounding part of the iris is inflamed after an injury by any external factors. This eye injury needs medical attention or it will leave you risk of permanent decreased vision.
+ How eye injuries are diagnosed?
Your medical history is rather important when diagnosing eye injury. The doctor would want to know how injury happens as it can help them to investigate more accurate. During the examination, your visual acuity will be checked.
An eye doctor will use a special drop called fluorescein to check whether the cornea has been damaged. If it has, your corneal abrasions will appear green when blue light is shed onto it.
Some other eye specialists use a device called a slit lamp to have a close-up look at the eye. This slit lamp is a special magnifying and microscope.
Another alternative for examination is X-ray. However, only orbital fracture, intraocular and intraorbital foreign body requires this method.
+ Treatment for eye injuries
Eye injury should not be under-estimated and given no medical attention, despite how serious it is. The first and foremost rule when you injure your eyes is not to touch, scratch, rub or remove the object in the eyes.
Make sure you temporarily cover the eye with a protective shield, instead of an eye patch. This should not have any pressure on the eye and then you need to seek medical attention immediately.
Minor cases of eye injury from sports accidents can be treated with ice-bag to bring down the swollen area and boost the healing process. But still, for safety reasons, you need to get it checked by a doctor. You can also apply some first-aid treatments depending on the causes of it:
General first aid treatments
Scratched eye or any common injury can be dangerous if it is not treated well. Before you can get to see the doctor, here are some steps to do:
- Wash your eyes with hygiene solutions or clean water
- Keep blinking to get rid of strange things
- Try to use protection such as sunglasses if the eyes become sensitive due to the scratches
- Not to touch or rub your eyes because it can get worse
- Stop using contact lenses immediately if any
- Do not use any kind of eye drops
- Do not try to remove the object and let the expert do it
For swollen eye
Although swollen eyes caused by being hit is not an emergency sometimes, but it is important to take care of the problem before it gets worse
- Apply ice-bag to bring down the swollen area and reduce the pain
- Do not put pressure on the swollen eyelid or eye
- If black eye or any visual problems occur, seek medical attention immediately
Being cut or stabbed
If your eyes get cut or punctured, simply follow these steps:
- Use a protective shield to cover the eye
- Do not clean the eye, even with clean water
- Do not remove the object if any
- No aspirin or any kind of anti-inflammatory drugs
- Find the nearest eye hospital
Chemical Exposure/chemical burn
Chemical burns from mild acid can be treated easily and managed completely if you do it correctly. Here are some first-aid steps to follow:
- Immediately wash the eye with lots of clean water
- Seek emergency medical treatment straight away
- Find out the type of chemical that catches you in the eye and tell the doctor
Eye injury can happen to anyone and can be serious sometimes. In some cases, it is not the injury that cause permanent loss of vision, but it is the consequence of inappropriate treatment. However, prevention is always better than cure. You should always take extra cautious and use the above recommended protections while working in any environment that exposes to the risk of having eye injury. That’s all about, let’s save your vision!