Our eyes are one of the most sensitive areas of the body. You can probably recall a time when some dust got into your eye, or you accidentally poked yourself in the eye, and the discomfort or pain that accompanied it! Unfortunately, eye injuries are a relatively common occurrence. Depending on the nature of the injury, you could experience anything from a mild irritation to more serious and long-lasting effects.
What are the most common causes of eye injuries?
A large percentage of the causes of eye injuries are largely preventable with the correct protective equipment. Working with hazardous chemicals or dangerous equipment, and playing sport are two of the most common causes of eye injury, and yet the risks could be minimized by ensuring that you wear appropriate safety eyewear. However, many injuries are also sustained during very low risk day to day activities. Unless you are prepared to walk around in protective eyewear all the time, it is best to accept accidents do happen regardless of how careful we try to be!
It is also important to remember that sun exposure can also cause damage to your eyesight over time, and the right sunglasses will help to protect them against this.
What should I do if I suffer from an eye injury?
Every eye injury is different and so it is impossible to give exact advice without seeing your situation. However, there are some general guidelines that you can follow that should help you to get the best possible outcome.
Do NOT rub your eye. Rubbing our eyes if we can’t see clearly, if we feel something foreign in them or if they are injured, is an instinctive reaction. However, it is one that can cause more harm than good.
Do use your common sense to deal with the situation. If it is something relatively minor and mild, such as getting soap or sand in your eye, rinsing the affected area thoroughly with saline solution should be sufficient enough to clear the discomfort. However, if it is a chemical or otherwise more serious product or object that you have inadvertently got into your eyes, a simple rinse may not be sufficient.
Do NOT take any chances. If you are in severe discomfort, there are visible changes to the appearance of your eyes, or if your vision has become impaired, it is best to seek the advice of an optometrist or your general practitioner. It is far better to be safe than run the risk of permanent damage.
What type of treatment can I expect?
The type of treatment you receive will depend on the sort of injury that you have received. For example:
- If your eye is inflamed, then you may be given steroid eye drops in order to reduce the inflammation.
- If you have suffered a fracture in the orbital area, then you may be given anti-inflammatories and ice and lay with your head elevated so that the swelling subsides.
- Lacerations to the eye may require stitches depending on the size and location of the injury.
- Any open wounds will probably require a course of antibiotics to prevent infection.
In order to assess your condition thoroughly and accurately, your eye specialist may ask you to undergo a number of tests, which may include x-rays.
Will I be able to have my treatment under anesthetic?
If your treatment is likely to cause you pain, your eye doctor may be able to offer some form of anesthetic or sedative.
What is the prognosis for eye injury patients?
The prognosis for eye injuries will depend on the variety of injury that you have sustained and how quickly you are able to get treatment. Your eye doctor will be able to give you a fairly accurate idea once you have had your initial consultation.