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Eye Emergencies

Information about Eye Emergencies

We Have to Know about the Eye Emergencies

  • Eye emergencies include cuts, scratches, and objects in the eye, burns, chemical exposure, and blunt injuries to the eye or eyelid
  • Since the eye is easily damaged, any of these conditions can lead to vision loss if left untreated

First Aid


  • Chemicals which accidentally splash into the eye may rapidly harm its delicate surfaces. Many household products, such as detergents and bleach, may cause serious damage if not treated promptly

Home Treatment

  • No time must be lost in washing out any chemicals. Place the eye directly under a gently running stream of water from a tap or shower, positioning the head so that contaminated water does not run into the other eye or down the face. You could also immerse the face in a bowl or sink of water. Rinse the eye thoroughly by moving the eye in all directions. Open the eyelids with your fingers to ensure that the water gets to all parts of the eye
  • If the person is wearing contact lenses, do not try to remove the lens. Flush the eye out first
  • If the burning sensation is severe or if a strong chemical such as an acid or alkali is involved, continue flushing with clean water for at least 20 minutes. Alkalis, which penetrate the eye and do the most damage, are slowly drawn out through the surface only by prolonged flushing
  • After following the above instructions, seek medical help immediately
  • Take prompt action and follow the steps below if you or someone else has an eye-related injury


  • The eye will often clear itself of tiny objects, like eyelashes and sand, through blinking and tearing. If not, take these steps:
  • Tell the person not to rub the eye. Wash your hands before examining it
  • Examine the eye in a well-lighted area. To find the object, have the person look up and down, then side to side
  • If you can’t find the object, grasp the lower eyelid and gently pull down on it to look under the lower eyelid. To look under the upper lid, you can place a cotton-tipped swab on the outside of the upper lid and gently flip the lid over the cotton swab
  • If the object is on an eyelid, try to gently flush it out with water. If that does not work, try touching a second cotton-tipped swab to the object to remove it
  • If the object is on the eye, try gently rinsing the eye with water. It may help to use an eye dropper positioned above the outer corner of the eye. DO NOT touch the eye itself with the cotton swab
  • A scratchy feeling or other minor discomforts may continue after removing eyelashes and other tiny objects. This will go away within a day or two. If the person continues to have discomfort or blurred vision, get medical help


  • Leave the object in place. DO NOT try to remove the object. DO NOT touch it or apply any pressure to it
  • Calm and reassure the person
  • Wash your hands
  • Bandage both eyes. If the object is large, place a paper cup or cone over the injured eye and tape it in place. Cover the uninjured eye with gauze or a clean cloth. If the object is small, cover both eyes with a clean cloth or sterile dressing. Even if only one eye is affected, covering both eyes will help prevent eye movement
  • Get medical help immediately


  • If the eyeball has been injured, get medical help immediately
  • Gently apply cold compresses to reduce swelling and help stop any bleeding. DO NOT apply pressure to control bleeding
  • If blood is pooling in the eye, cover both of the person’s eyes with a clean cloth or sterile dressing, and get medical help


  • Carefully wash the eye
  • If the cut is bleeding, apply gentle pressure with a clean, dry cloth until the bleeding subsides
  • Rinse with water, cover with a clean dressing, and place a cold compress on the dressing to reduce pain and swelling


  • DO NOT press or rub an injured eye
  • DO NOT remove contact lenses unless rapid swelling is occurring, there is a chemical injury and the contacts did not come out with the water flush, or you cannot get prompt medical help
  • DO NOT attempt to remove a foreign body that appears to be embedded in any part of the eye. Get medical help immediately.
  • DO NOT use cotton swabs, tweezers, or anything else on the eye itself. Cotton swabs should only be used on the eyelid

Causes of Eye Emergencies

  • Head injury
  • Foreign object in the eye
  • Chemical injury
  • Blow to the eye
  • Eyelid and eye cuts
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Glaucoma
  • Orbital cellulitis
  • Iritis
  • Corneal abrasion

Do’s and Don’ts of Eye Emergencies

  • Supervise children carefully. Teach them how to be safe
  • Always wear protective eyewear when working with toxic chemicals

Signs & Symptoms of Eye Emergencies

  • Eye pain
  • Loss of vision or decreased vision or double vision
  • Redness – bloodshot appearance
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Bleeding
  • Bruising, cuts or wounds
  • A headache
  • Itchy eyes
  • Pupils of unequal size
  • Stinging and burning
  • The sensation of something in the eye

Medical advice for Eye Emergencies

Seek emergency medical care if:

  • There appears to be any visible scratch, cut, or penetration of your eyeball
  • The eye is painful and red
  • Nausea accompanies the eye pain
  • You have any trouble seeing such as blurry vision
  • Any chemical gets into your eye and The burning sensation is not relieved within 30 minutes
  • Acid or alkali was involved
  • The eye remains red or continues to water after a few hours
  • There is blurring of vision or the eye becomes sensitive to light
Eye Emergencies
            Causes of Eye Emergencies