Our eyes are precious, and taking good care of them is the most important thing we can do to keep our vision and eye health in general. Having a good understanding of eye care first aid, we can respond swiftly and effectively to common eye emergencies. Remember that these tips can help you deal with eye accidents, but you should always see a doctor if you have severe or chronic issue with your eyes. Make eye safety a top priority, and to help you do that, we have compiled a very comprehensive guide after consulting leading eye consultant Dr Kashish Gupta – Head Department of Ophthalmology at the Eye Centre of Max Healthcare Bathinda Punjab.
Foreign Object in the Eye
Accidentally getting a foreign object, such as dust, debris, or an eyelash, in your eye can be incredibly uncomfortable and potentially harmful. Here’s how to handle it:
- Avoid Rubbing: Refrain from rubbing your eye, as it can cause the object to scratch the cornea or get deeper into the eye.
- Wash Hands: Before touching your eye, wash your hands thoroughly to prevent infection.
- Blink and Rinse: Try blinking several times to see if the object will come out on its own. If not, gently rinse your eye with clean water or sterile saline solution.
- Use Eye Wash or Artificial Tears: If rinsing doesn’t work, use an eye wash or artificial tears to flush out the object.
- Seek Medical Attention: If the foreign object persists or you experience pain or changes in vision, seek immediate medical attention.
- Coming into contact with chemicals can cause severe damage to the eyes. Whether it’s household cleaners, garden chemicals, or industrial substances, follow these steps:
- Flush Immediately: Rinse your eyes with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. Hold your head under a gentle stream of water, keeping your eyes open to ensure effective flushing.
- Remove Contact Lenses: Remove your contact lenses after flushing the eye for a few minutes.
- Don’t Delay Medical Help: After rinsing, seek emergency medical care promptly.
Eye Cuts and Punctures
- Any cut or puncture to the eye requires immediate attention and should not be taken lightly. Here’s what to do:
- Don’t Rub or Apply Pressure: Avoid putting pressure on the eye, as it may worsen the injury.
- Shield the Eye: Use a clean, rigid object (e.g., the bottom of a paper cup) to shield the eye and prevent further contact.
- Seek Immediate Medical Help: Eye injuries involving cuts or punctures necessitate urgent medical attention. Please do not attempt to treat it yourself.
Burns to the eye can occur from exposure to heat, chemicals, or radiation. Respond to eye burns with the following actions:
- Flush with Water: Immediately flush the eye with cold water for at least 15 minutes.
- Cover the Eye: Place a sterile dressing or clean cloth over the eye to protect it.
- Seek Medical Assistance: After flushing and covering the eye, seek immediate medical attention.
Eye Contusions and Bruises
A contusion or bruise around the eye, often called a “black eye,” can result from blunt force trauma. Although it might not be as severe as other eye injuries, it can still be painful and visually concerning. Here’s how to manage a black eye:
- Apply Cold Compress: In the first 24 hours after the injury, apply a cold compress or ice wrapped in a soft cloth to reduce swelling and alleviate pain. Apply it for 15-20 minutes several times a day.
- Elevate Your Head: Prop your head up with pillows while sleeping to minimize swelling.
- Avoid Pressure: Refrain from pressing or massaging the affected area, which can worsen the bruising.
- Pain Relief Medication: Over-the-counter pain relief medication like ibuprofen can help alleviate discomfort, but consult a healthcare professional before use.
- Monitor Changes: If the swelling or discolouration worsens or doesn’t improve after a few days, seek medical evaluation to rule out any more severe injuries.
- A corneal abrasion is a scratch on the outer transparent layer of the eye named the cornea. It can occur from getting poked in the eye, rubbing it vigorously, or even from a foreign object. Here’s what to do:
- Avoid Rubbing: As with any eye injury, refrain from rubbing your eye, as it may exacerbate the condition.
- Blink and Rinse: Blink several times to stimulate tear production, which may help remove the foreign object or irritant. Use clean water or sterile saline solution and rinse your eye thoroughly.
- Don’t Use Contacts: Avoid wearing contact lenses until the abrasion has healed completely.
- Use Eye Patch: An eye patch may be prescribed by a healthcare professional to protect the cornea and promote healing.
- Seek Medical Attention: Although most corneal abrasions heal on their own, seek medical advice to prevent infection and ensure proper recovery.
Photokeratitis (Sunburned Eyes)
Photokeratitis is akin to a sunburn on the cornea. It can be caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, often from the sun or intense artificial sources, like welding arcs. Protect your eyes from this condition:
- Wear Sunglasses: Choose sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection when spending time outdoors, even on cloudy days.
- Use Protective Eyewear: Wear appropriate protective eyewear while working with welding equipment or engaging in activities that expose your eyes to intense light.
- Rest and Moisturize: If you experience photokeratitis symptoms (eye pain, redness, sensitivity to light), rest your eyes and use artificial tears to moisturize them.
- Avoid Sun Exposure: During healing, limit exposure to bright light and sunlight.
- Consult an Eye specialist: If your symptoms persist or worsen, consult an eye care professional for a thorough examination.
Preparedness and swift action are vital when dealing with eye emergencies. Knowing how to provide proper first aid for eye injuries can prevent further damage and protect your vision. Remember, in any eye emergency, getting professional medical help promptly is essential. Additionally, regular eye check-ups with an optometrist or ophthalmologist can help detect potential issues early, ensuring the health and well-being of your eyes for years to come. Stay vigilant, prioritize eye safety, and preserve the world’s beauty through your healthy eyesight! The eye department at Max Hospital Bathinda, headed by Dr Kashish Gupta, handles trauma and emergency eye cases on-call basis.