Have you ever gotten something stuck in your eye and didn’t know what to do about it? This must-read list of first aid tips will prepare you to handle any eye injuries you may face in the future.
A lot goes into keeping your eyes healthy and safe. But here’s one important habit many people tend to overlook: Protecting your eyes from injury is extremely important. And wearing eye protection can go a long way toward preventing eye cuts, objects in the eye, blows to the eye, and other dangerous mishaps.
But you may not always be able to protect yourself from eye injuries. In that case, it’s important to know what to do when eye trauma does occur.
What To Do About Eye Cuts and Puncture Wounds
These types of eye injury require the immediate attention of an eye doctor. If your eye or eyelid has been cut or punctured in any way, don’t attempt to wash the eye or remove anything stuck in the eye. Here are some more first aid tips for cuts and punctures in and around the eye:
- Avoid rubbing the eye or surrounding skin.
- Protect the eye from inadvertent rubbing by covering the eye with a rigid, circular object — cutting out the bottom of a paper cup will work.
- Don’t put pressure on the eye while holding up the protective covering, in case there is a foreign body inside the cut.
- Affix the protective covering over the eye using a piece of tape.
- Go to an eye doctor or emergency room right away.
How to Remove Objects From the Eye
Whether it’s a grain of sand or some other particle, here are suggestions on what to do — and what not to do — when an object gets in your eye:
- Don’t rub your eye to get the object out or make it feel better — you may end up scratching your cornia by moving around the foreign body.
- Don’t try to remove an object that is penetrating or embedded in the eye.
- Use a dampened cotton swab to try to gently remove an object that is not embedded.
- Allow your tears to flow; it may help get the object out.
- Try using eye wash or rinsing your eyes with water to flush out the particle.
- If you are not certain that you got the particle out, see an eye doctor.
The Safest Approach to Cleaning Out Chemicals in the Eye
Household cleaners or any other chemicals that splash into the eye can cause serious damage, and require immediate eye first aid to prevent eye injury. Follow these eye first aid steps if you get chemicals in the eye:
- Use water to flush or rinse out the eye right away. Don’t waste time; do this immediately.
- Don’t cover or put anything over the eye.
- Stand underneath a showerhead or place your head beneath a running faucet. You may need to use both hands to keep the injured eye open while flushing it.
- Flush the eye for at least 15 minutes, keeping the eye wide open and allowing the water to run over and cleanse it.
- After following these steps, go to an emergency room immediately.
How to Handle a Blow to the Eye
If you get hit in or near the eye with a ball or some other object with force, here are some first aid tips to treat it:
- Gently hold a cold compress or ice pack against the eye — don’t put pressure against it.
- Keep your head elevated to minimize swelling.
- Go to a doctor’s office or the emergency room if you experience pain or if your vision is affected.
It’s always a good idea to see an eye doctor to get your eye checked out if you’ve sustained any eye injury. Remember to safeguard your eyes as much as possible with protective eyewear so that you don’t need to use eye first aid — but if you do have an eye emergency, now you know just what to do.
For more information on first aid tips for common eye injuries, please visit EverydayHealth.com.