Eye injuries come in many shapes and sizes, with varying degrees of severity. Some might require emergency treatment and immediate care by an eye care practitioner, while others can be taken care of at home. Read these guidelines for common eye injuries, to decide the next step in case of an accident. Don't forget that general safety protections such as wearing safety goggles or glasses may be your best approach to avoiding eye injuries altogether.
An example of an injury that should not be taken lightly is a corneal abrasion (scratched eye). It can lead to serious damage very quickly and potentially result in blindness. Abrasions are often the result of a poke in the eye, or rubbing the eye when there is a particle of dust or sand in it. Because a scratch can make your eye susceptible to fungal infection it's crucial to contact your optometrist or an emergency room. The best care for a corneal abrasion is to keep it loosely closed and to visit your optometrist right away to inspect it. Rubbing the eye will only make it worse and completely covering the eye provides the perfect environment for bacteria.
It's especially important to have a plan for what steps to take if you've been sprayed in the eye by a chemical. First, you need to flush your eye out by putting your head beneath a strong stream of lukewarm water for approximately 15 minutes. Then call your eye doctor or an emergency room to hear what they recommend for such injuries. Make sure to tell the medical professional exactly which substance got into your eye and what you've done. If your eye is extraordinarily red or blurry, go straight to your eye care practitioner or an urgent care center after washing it with water. Exposure to chemicals in the eye can cause a range of injuries, from minor pain to severe damage and even vision loss.
Though no one ever wants to anticipate a serious eye injury, it's always good to know how to respond in such situations. By being prepared you can feel confident that you'll be ready to face most common eye problems. Of course, extra safety precautions can help you avoid these injuries altogether so consult with your optometrist about preventative eye care options!