Eye emergencies: What to do?

6 February 2015
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6 February 2015, Comments: 0

When it comes to eye emergencies, it occurs when a foreign object or chemical enters the eye or when an injury or burn involves the eye area. Always remember that it is vital to seek medical care if the individual experiences redness, swelling or pain. If prompt treatment is not provided, it can lead to partial loss of vision or even blindness. You can enroll in a course on first aid today so that you can learn the appropriate measures to perform.


Eye emergencies cover a variety of conditions and incidents with their own distinct symptoms. It is best to consult a doctor if the individual feels that there is something in the eye or experiences the following symptoms:

Eye emergencies

Do not rub or apply pressure on the affected eye.

  • Vision loss
  • Burning or stinging sensation
  • Eye pain
  • Pupils in unequal size
  • One eye is not moving
  • One eye is bulging or sticking out
  • Diminished vision
  • Redness and irritation
  • Double vision
  • Bleeding from the eye
  • Bruising around the eye
  • Discharge
  • Headache
  • Itchiness

If an individual sustained an injury to the eye or experiences abrupt loss of vision, bleeding, swelling or pain, he/she must be taken to the emergency department right away.

Measures to avoid during eye emergencies

Serious complications can occur from an eye injury. Even though you can readily help out, there are measures that must be avoided.

  • Do not rub or apply pressure on the affected eye
  • Do not use tweezers or any tools on the eye surface
  • Do not attempt to remove any foreign objects that are stuck in any part of the eye
  • Do not apply ointments or medications in the affected eye
  • If the individual has contact lenses, do not remove them if you suspect an eye injury

Remember that the only exceptions to these measures are scenarios where chemical injury occurs, when the contact lenses were not flushed out with water or immediate medical care is not available.

Chemical injuries to the eye

Chemical burns can occur when household cleaning products and industrial chemicals enter the eyes. Even exposure to fumes and aerosols can cause burns in the eye.

If acid enters the eye, prompt treatment can lead to a good outcome. Nevertheless, alkaline-based products such as lye, drain cleaners or lime can cause permanent damage to the cornea. When chemicals enter the eye, there are steps to perform:

  • Instruct the individual to turn his/her head so that the affected eye is down and to the side.
  • Hold the eyelid open and flush with cool tap water for about 15 minutes.
  • If the individual has contact lenses and still in the eye after flushing, you can try to remove them.

Bring the individual to the emergency department right away. If possible, continue to flush the affected eye with clean water while on the way to the hospital.

Preventive measures

Eye emergencies can occur anytime and anywhere including at work, home, playground or during sports events. There are measures to bear in mind to reduce the risk or preventing eye injuries from occurring.

  • Always use protective eye gear when engaged in high-risk sports or when using power tools.
  • Always follow directions carefully when using chemicals or cleaning supplies.
  • Childproof the house by removing or cushioning objects that have sharp edges.

The best way to reduce the risk of developing permanent eye damage is to consult a doctor after any type of eye injury.

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