Eye Injuries and How to Treat Them

If you should suffer an eye injury you must have an eye doctor examine the injury as soon as possible. This is crucial even if the injury appears minor; a serious eye injury is not always immediately obvious and so delaying medical attention may cause the damaged eye to worsen, resulting in sustained or even permanent vision loss. Never attempt to treat a serious eye injury yourself; instead, learn from this article the most common forms of eye injuries and how to respond to them in order to get the attention you need and to ensure the full restoration of your eye health.


The most common eye injury is a ‘black eye’, which is eye swelling and puffy, swollen eyelids resulting from being struck either by a person or object. The best immediate treatment for this type of eye injury is an ice pack to the affected area. In all probability this bruising around the eye will heal in a few days, but you should still visit an eye doctor to ensure your eye has suffered no internal damage.


We’ve all had something in our eye before; usually a grain of sand or some other small piece of debris. When this happens, never rub the eyes; simply lift the upper eyelid over the eyelashes of the lower lid and blink several times to create tears to flush our the foreign particle. Also, use eyewash to flush the eye out. If the particle (and any subsequent pain or discomfort) remains, keep the eye closed (using a light bandage if necessary) and see your eye doctor immediately.


A broken blood vessel on the front of the eye, also known as a subconjunctival hemorrhage, is typically a harmless condition that, despite its sometimes scary appearance, clears up within one to three weeks. But persistent redness of the eye is cause for concern and may be a sign of another more serious eye condition. Particularly if you have eye discomfort, discharge, unexpected vision loss, or an sudden extreme sensitivity to light, you should visit your eye doctor for an eye exam to rule out inflammation or an infection caused by bacteria or a virus.


Many chemicals, even those found around the house, can damage the eye. If your eye comes into contact with a chemical, flush your eye immediately with lukewarm water for 30 minutes. Look on the product’s container for emergency instructions or call your local poison control centre. Be prepared to give the exact name of the chemical if you know it; but never delay flushing the eye first. If both eyes are affected, flush them in the shower.


If a foreign object cuts or penetrates your eye, visit the emergency room at a hospital immediately. Do not rinse or apply pressure to the eye. If there is an object embedded in the eye, leave it in; you could risk further injury to the eye by trying to remove the object. Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen as these drugs thin the blood and may exacerbate the bleeding. Try loosely taping a paper cup or other makeshift eye shield to protect your eye until you can receive emergency care.

To prevent eye injury, be vigilant: always wear protective eyewear if you’re playing sport or doing a job where loose particles, sparks, or projectiles could damage your eyes. With children, eye injuries usually occur at school or during play. Protective goggles (racquet ball), batting helmets (baseball), or full face masks (hockey) should be worn at all times to prevent injury. However, even with all the proper precautions, accidents can and do happen. Therefore treat all eye injuries as potential emergencies, and never hesitate to contact or see an eye doctor immediately.

At iSight Optometry we have a team of three highly specialized optometrists dedicated to the care of your eyes. We provide comprehensive, personal, and very up-to-date eyecare to patients of all ages. Contact us today to book your next appointment.