In those precious seconds after some sort of eye ‘incident’, the choices you make could just save your eyesight. Do the right thing, and you can get to the hospital in time and give yourself a fighting chance. Do the wrong thing, and you could permanently damage your eye resulting in a lifetime of sight issues. The two examples below describe specific eye emergencies which require very different procedures. Be informed and save someone’s eyesight.
These procedures might just save someone’s eyesight
“Owe, my eye! Help! I think I burnt my eye…”
Robert is an experienced welder. He has over ten years of experience under his belt. But today he forgot his protective face gear and decided to work anyway. Unfortunately, some welding material flashed, and struck his eye. He is in extreme pain, and is panicking. Now what?
Knowing first aid care for eye injuries is extremely important and useful. It’s not talked about a lot but can help save an individual’s eye. Without first aid knowledge, a person’s injury can worsen and potentially lead to vision loss.
Robert’s injury is classified as a MAJOR EYE INJURY. He likely cannot see clearly out of the affected eye, and requires immediate first aid:
- Move the individual so he/she is in a comfortable position and if possible can close their affected eye
- Stabilize their head, to reduce any and all head movement
- Reassure the individual so he/she calms down
- Remind the individual to try to not roll/move the eye
- Secure a clean gauze over the eye, so the eye is shut
- Call 9-1-1 for assistance, and stay with the injured individual
- Continue to offer reassurance
- Look for any injuries, especially around the head
- Check for consciousness, and ensure the individual’s air passage is clear
Remember if a foreign object is lodged within the eye DO NOT try to remove it. Instead, secure gauze around the object and try to stabilize the eye/head. Additionally, if the eye injury is due to a chemical, wash the eye out with as much water as possible to remove any chemical residue.
“Mommy there’s something in my eye! Help me, it hurts!”
Sarah is ten years old, she was playing outside with her little brother, when he kicked dirt in her face. She now has some dirt in her eyes, and is having troubling seeing clearly.
Sarah’s eye injury is classified as a MINOR EYE INJURY. Some of the dirt has cleared with Sarah’s tears, but she still requires first aid.
- Instruct the individual to not rub/touch the affected eye, or else the eye may become scratched
- Inspect the eye to see the foreign material and whether it is visible over the whites of the eye
- Ask the individual to blink to help clear the debris
- Flush the eye with water by running water opposite the nose. Ensure the individuals head is tilted towards the effected eye.
If the eye is still not clear, DO NOT try to remove the foreign object yourself. Instead secure the eye with gauze or an eye patch and immediately go and see your family eye doctor. An optometrist can assess the eye and advise on the best course of action. Be sure to let the staff know you have an eye emergency so they can fit you in immediately.