Eyes being one of the most sensitive parts of your body require special care, and any kind of injury to them should be taken very seriously. An eye emergency may occur any time you have a foreign particle lodged in your eye or when an injury or burn affects your eye area. Eye emergencies cover a range of incidents and conditions, each with its distinct symptoms.
You should contact the eye specialist if it feels like you have something in your eye, or if you experience any of the symptoms like loss of vision, burning or stinging, pupils that are not the same size, movement within one eye is not the same as the other, eye pain, severe itching, new or severe headaches, etc.
Let’s talk about a few common eye-related issues and the appropriate first aid for dealing with them:
First aid care for foreign particles in the eyes
- Do not rub your eyes
- Lift the upper eyelid up and outwards over the lower lid, and then roll your eyes around.
- Splash water in your eyes generously, and keep your eyes open during the process.
- Repeat the previous steps until the particle gets removed.
- In case of something serious, consult a doctor to ensure the unwanted particle is gone and the eyes have not been damaged.
First aid care for chemical burns
- Be calm and keep your eyes open until they can be flushed. Closing your eyes traps the chemical in and causes further damage.
- Flush your eyes generously with water for 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure you keep your eyes open during flushing.
- Get immediate expert care.
First aid care for a physical blow to the eyes
Gently place a cold compress over your eye in 5 to 10 minute intervals. Do not place ice directly on the skin, use a cloth in between the ice and skin.
Immediately seek an expert. The doctor may want to examine the eye for potential damage. If the damage was significant (for example, skull fracture or displaced bones), you will need to go to an emergency ward for immediate treatment.
First aid for a cut or puncture
Gently place a shield/protective cover over the eye. The bottom of a paper cup taped to the bones surrounding the eye can serve as a shield until you get medical attention.
- Don’t press the shield against the eye.
- Don’t splash water.
- Don’t try to remove any objects that are stuck in the eye.
- Don’t rub or apply pressure to the eye.
- After you have finished protecting the eye, get emergency medical assistance.
All the other eye injuries other than grit in the eye or small scratches should be considered potentially serious. And, in such a case:
- Don’t touch, rub or apply pressure to the eye.
- Don’t try to remove any object(s) stuck in the eye.
- Don’t apply ointment or medication to the eye without a doctor’s consultation.
- Over-the-counter eye drops taken without consultation may increase the severity of the pain or make the injury worse.
- Prescription medications should only be used only for the condition they were prescribed for, not for emergency treatment unless instructed otherwise by the doctor.
- Visit a doctor as soon as possible.
Remember, it’s always a wise decision to seek medical attention if you ever experience swelling, redness, or pain in your eyes. Without proper treatment, eye damage can lead to a partial loss of vision or even permanent blindness.