What to Do in the Event of an Eye Injury
During the warmer months, emergency care physicians tend to treat eye injuries more frequently than in other months. It’s a wise decision to wear protective eyewear when using power tools, operating lawn equipment, or playing certain sports. Emergency care doctors strongly recommend that parents keep children away from areas where tools and machinery are being used. If an eye injury does occur despite these precautions, West Hills Hospital is always open to provide care.
When chemical irritants get in the eye, they often cause painful burning and stinging. In most cases, acidic substances cause the most redness and burning, yet can usually be flushed out easily. Alkali substances might not cause as much redness or pain, yet can lead to very serious eye health problems. When the eye is exposed to chemicals, the first step you should take is to flush out the eye with lots of sterile saline solution or plain water. Then, go to the ER. As you’ll learn by watching this featured video, emergency care physicians can check for serious eye injuries and visual impairment.
An eye contusion is also called a black eye. Although black eyes typically fade within a week or two, it’s best to see an emergency care doctor to make sure there is no internal damage. Do not take aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for the pain, since these can worsen the bleeding. Instead, apply an ice pack wrapped in a clean towel for 20 minutes at a time, every one to two hours. Do not apply pressure against the eye.
Most foreign objects that get into the eye are dust particles or eyelashes. You can remove them by irrigating the eye with sterile saline solution. Blink frequently to dislodge the object and avoid rubbing your eyes. Less commonly, penetrating objects like shards of glass may enter the eye. Do not attempt to remove an object that has penetrated the eye . Instead, call 911 right away.
If your child sustains an eye injury, don’t hesitate to call 911 or rush your child to the hospital. At West Hills Hospital, our emergency care department is available around the clock to respond to every type of medical emergency. General questions about our hospital services may be directed to a registered nurse in West Hills at (818) 676-4321.