Although our face structure is designed to naturally protect our eyes from injuries, unexpected accidents do occur. Getting sand or soap in the eyes is usually minor, as long as it’s flushed out promptly either naturally with tears or flushing with water. Remember not to rub the eyes though; this may scratch the cornea. Direct blunt trauma or impact to the eye or eye socket from a baseball or fist can cause more serious injuries, which may result in vision loss or blindness.
Not all eye injuries are avoidable, but precautions such as wearing safety or sport goggles can help to reduce the risk of eye injuries. See below some common eye injuries defined:
- Eye Swelling/Black Eye – When an eye is injured from blunt trauma (like a baseball moving at high speed), bruising and swelling can result in a black eye from the blood that collects around the eye. The best immediate treatment for this type of injury is an ice pack.
- Corneal Abrasion (scratched eye) – The cornea can become scratched or cut from rubbing the eye when a foreign object is present (such as dust or sand). Corneal abrasions are very uncomfortable and cause eye redness, pain, watery eyes, and sensitivity to light. A scratch also can make your eye susceptible to infection from bacteria, so it’s important to seek treatment if you suspect a laceration.
- Penetrating or Foreign Object– A foreign particle that enters the eye and can irritate or injure the cornea and conjunctiva. If metal or a fish hook penetrates your eye, visit urgent care right away. Do not attempt to remove the object yourself.
- Foreign Substance– Sorry to burst your bubble, but foam parties can cause damage to the eyes. Substances accidentally splashed or rubbed in the eye, such as soap, hairspray or workplace chemicals cause redness, discomfort and irritation. If the substance is not flushed out immediately, the eye can receive a chemical burn. So, if you do have a foam party to go to, wear swim goggles!
- Hyphema – Caused by blunt trauma to the eye, a hyphema is pooling of blood in the anterior (front) eye chamber (the space between the cornea and the iris) caused by broken blood vessels. Hyphemas are serious eye injuries and require medical assistance.
- Traumatic Iritis – An inflammation of the iris, or colored part of the eye that surrounds the pupil (iris) can occur after an eye injury. Traumatic iritis is caused by an injury to the eye (like a poke or blow to the eye from a blunt object like a ball or fist). With a risk of permanent decreased vision, traumatic iritis usually requires treatment.
- Ocular Inflammation (Red Eye) – The most common cause of ocular inflammation is conjunctivitis, an eye infection caused by viruses or bacteria. Red eye also can be caused by a foreign object or substance in the eye.
- Keratitis – There are many types of keratitis, an inflammation of the cornea. Some types are caused by reflective exposure to ultraviolet light (sunburn to the cornea), and bacterial, viral, or fungal infections. Contact lenses, dust, pollen and contaminated makeup also can cause keratitis.
No Appointments Necessary!
Most minor eye injuries will remedy on their own over 24 to 48 hours but it’s wise to treat all eye injuries as potential emergencies. Remember, you only have one pair of eyes. Never hesitate to seek medical attention immediately for eye injuries. At eMedical Urgent Care, all walk-ins are welcome. Our caring and compassionate staff can help take care of minor eye injuries. Feel better knowing we’re here.