When you think about injuries, what comes to mind? Broken bones? Sprained ankles? Maybe a laceration? Most people do not think of the eyes as a common place to have an injury. However, each year an estimated 2.4 million people suffer from eye injuries in the United States. That’s more than 6,000 eye injuries per day!
If you find yourself dealing with an eye injury, the steps you take after an injury can be the difference between a full recovery and vision loss. Keep reading for information on what to do after an eye injury.
Causes of eye injuries
Eye injuries can be caused by accidents, exposure to certain chemicals, sports, foreign objects in the eyes and more. According to Prevent Blindness, 125,000 eye injuries each year are caused by common household products such as cleaning products, gardening materials like fertilizer and even grass clippings when mowing the lawn. Additionally, more than 2,000 people a day injure their eyes at work in the United States. Finally, more than 25,000 people seek treatment for sports-related eye injuries each year.
Incurring an eye injury is easy to do and can cost you immensely, both financially and physically. The good news is that with proper eye protection, 90 percent of these injuries could be prevented.
Types of eye injuries
Eye injuries can range from mild and needing little treatment, to severe and requiring more invasive procedures. Here are some of the most common eye injuries according to the Cleveland Clinic:
- Black eyes
- Bleeding in the eye
- Burns caused by chemicals, fumes, and other irritants
- Corneal abrasions
- Injury from foreign objects
- Irritations caused by chemicals, fumes, and other irritants
- Retinal detachment
While some of these injuries can be treated at home, others need immediate treatment from a doctor. No matter how severe an eye injury is, it’s important to follow up with an eye doctor as soon as possible to prevent further complications.
What to do after an eye injury
If you find yourself with an eye injury, it’s important to contact your general physician for advice. Many medical providers have options to chat online rather than having to make an appointment. However, if the eye injury is severe, such as an object stuck in the eye, a trip to the emergency room is likely necessary.
Often doctors will recommend anyone with an eye injury come in for an exam. During the exam your doctor may do the following:
- Check your eyes for signs of injury like redness, bruising, swelling, etc.
- Check for abnormalities in and around your eyeballs
- Monitor how your eyes move, and pupils contract and expand
- Conduct an eye exam to look inside your eyes
- Perform medical imaging such as x-rays, MRIs or ultrasounds
After a doctor has completed the exam, they will give you further instructions for treatment. In some cases, a cold compress may be all you need. However, in more severe cases such as retinal detachments, surgery may be required. Most of the time mild eye injuries can be treated with eye flushing, eyedrops or eye patches that allow the eye to rest while it heals.
It’s very important to follow through with your treatment to prevent things like vision loss or additional damage to your eye.
How to prevent eye injuries
The key to preventing eye injuries is to use the proper protective gear when doing certain activities.
If you participate in sports, safety goggles or glasses are widely available. For jobs that involve construction or simply doing chores around the house, safety goggles keep debris from entering the eyes. Some safety goggles even prevent irritants such as fumes, vapors, chemical splashes, and other harmful substances from entering the eyes.
Keeping your eyes safe is important. One way to keep your eyes healthy and safe is to have vision insurance. Learn more about our vision insurance options now.