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From scratches to splashes, here’s what to do if you hurt your eyes
Whether it’s a scratch from a playful pet’s paw or an unexpected chemical splash in the kitchen, our eyes are highly sensitive and rather exposed. And because they are so important to our well-being, it’s great to have a plan of action.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through common eye injuries and the steps to take if it happens to you.
1. Scratches: handle with care
A scratch to the cornea can happen at any time – you could be playing with your pet, having a gardening session, or applying mascara. While most scratches are minor and will heal on their own, it’s still important to take care of your eye in the moment.
Here’s what you should do:
- No rubbing! Avoid the urge to rub your eye – it can make things worse.
- Rinse it right: use a gentle saline solution or clean water to rinse your eye and remove debris.
- See the experts: if your eye is uncomfortable, painful or scratchy, it’s worth seeing an eye doctor or ophthalmologist to ensure you haven’t done any lasting damage.
2. Chemical burns: act quickly
Chemicals near the eye can lead to some pretty serious situations – and they’re more common than you think. Cleaning solutions, cooking oils, solvents and paints can all make their way into the eye, causing discomfort, pain and potential damage. As always, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to eyes, so act fast.
Follow these steps:
- Rinse it out: immediately flush your eye with clean, cool water for at least 15 minutes.
- Contacts off: if you wear contacts, take out your lenses after the first few seconds of rinsing.
- Seek medical attention: after rinsing, seek emergency medical help – the sooner, the better.
3. Cuts: get help ASAP
Sharp objects and eyes just don’t mix! It might seem unlikely, but all it takes is a split-second slip of the hand. Say you’re slicing some vegetables for dinner, and in a moment of distraction, the knife veers off course. Or you’re working on a DIY project, and a piece of wood splinters, grazing your eye.
Here’s how to handle a cut like a pro:
- No pressure, please: don’t apply pressure or try to remove anything stuck in there. The eye is a delicate organ, and any pressure on it can increase the risk of damage to the surrounding tissues, especially if there’s a foreign object present.
- Protect with a shield: Gently cover the eye with a clean, non-stick cloth or gauze to prevent further harm.
- Seek medical care: get to a doctor, hospital or emergency clinic as quickly as possible.
4. Blows: be gentle
Toddler tantrum, tennis ball mishap, walking into a door – it’s surprisingly easy to be hit in the eye. This type of injury can be painful, although it usually resolves on its own.
Here’s what you should do:
- Cold compress: use a clean cloth or an ice pack wrapped in a thin cloth. Gently apply it to the closed eyelid to reduce any swelling and pain.
- Relax and rest: Strenuous activities can increase blood flow and pressure around the eye, potentially worsening any underlying damage. By resting and avoiding activities that strain the eye, you allow it to heal more effectively.
- Seek medical attention: if your eye is painful or looks swollen the following day, check with your doctor or eye specialist to ensure everything is healing well.
Quick action, bright future
Even a small scratch or splash of the wrong substance can cause harm to our delicate eyes, so it’s important to be prepared for emergencies. Key takeaways: act quickly, follow our steps, and get help from the professionals if you’re even slightly concerned.
Want to book a consultation? Get in touch with Auckland Eye today.