First Aid for Eye Injuries

Rules for Treating Eye Injuries

General Eye Safety Rules

  • Call the doctor any time the eye is injured
  • Wash your hands before touching the eye
  • Do not press on an injured eye or rub it
  • Do not use dry cotton swabs or sharp tools around the eye, e.g., tweezers
  • Keep the injured area clean and covered

When to Call the Doctor

  • Any time the eye is injured — immediately if the injury is serious
  • Any time chemicals get in the eye
  • Any time the cornea is scratched
  • Any time redness, swelling or pain will not go away
  • Any time there is decreased vision

Foreign Body

  • If tiny specks of dust, sand or fuzz get in the eye it can cause pain and redness
  • Sometimes blinking will help clear the eye
  • Do not remove the object if it is resting on the cornea
  • Do not rub the eye
  • Wash your hands before touching the eye
  • Look for the object. Have the person look up and down and side to side
  • If you can’t see it, gently pull down on the lower lid and then up on the upper lid to try to find it
  • If you find it, keep the eye open while you gently flush it out with water
  • If the object does not come out, cover they eye with a clean cloth and see a doctor
  • If the object comes out but the person has cloudy vision, or if pain or redness do not go away, go to the doctor

Object Stuck in the Eye

  • Do not put any pressure on the eye
  • DO NOT remove any object that is stuck in the eye
  • Place a paper cup over the eye and tape it in place

Chemical Burns

  • Many household products and sprays can cause eye injuries. The eye should be immediately irrigated with water
  • Turn the person’s head so the eye is facing down and to the side
  • Flush eye from bridge of nose to outer edge of eye with running water for at least 15 minutes. Keep the eye open. This may be painful
  • After the eyes are rinsed, take out contact lenses
  • Have the eye doctor examine the eye

Blows to the Eye — Black eye

  • A black eye is usually caused by a direct blow to the face, such as in a sports injury, an accident or a fight
  • Gently cover the eye with a cool washcloth or ice wrapped in a towel
  • Do not press on it
  • If the eye is bleeding, see a doctor right away
  • If the skin is deeply cut, stitches may be needed
  • If there is double vision, the eye looks smaller or if there is facial deformity see a doctor