Eye injuries can be serious, involving several parts of the eye and are usually quite painful. Most minor eye injuries can be treated at your home. However, if you have a major eye injury, it should be taken seriously and quickly.
What to do if you suffer a minor eye injury:
Cut on your eyelid: apply a sterile bandage or cloth to protect the area. If you don’t have a sterile bandage, use a clean cloth. DO NOT use fluffy cotton bandages around the eye that could tear apart and get stuck in the eye. This could lead to infection or irritation of the eye. Keep bandages clean and dry.
Reduce swelling: apply ice or cold packs for 15 minutes 3 or 4 times a day during the first two days. The quicker you apply a cold pack, the less swelling you are likely to have. After the swelling subsides, a warm cloth may help relieve the pain.
What to do if you suffer a major eye injury:
If you are suffering from complete or partial loss of vision, severe itching, redness, or any other severe injury to your eyes, you need to get immediate attention from an ophthalmologist.
A corneal abrasion is a scratch or injury to the cornea, the clear, dome shaped surface that covers the front of the eye. This is a very common occurrence. There are many things that can cause an abrasion to the cornea. The most common causes include foreign bodies in the eye (dirt, pebbles, insects), a scratch from a toy or fingernail, or contact lenses.
A scratched cornea usually heals without complications. Pain relievers and surface antibiotics may be prescribed. The treatment of cuts vary according to the extent of the injury. A small cut usually does not need stitches, but a sever cut to the eyeball requires immediate treatment and usually surgery.
Overall, the seriousness of lacerations to the eye depends on the individual’s cut. This can range from small annoyance to serious. The potential risks of not seeing a doctor may be as serious as infection or blindness. If at all in doubt, see your nearest emergency room.
I would like to thank John Shaw, our law clerk, for helping me research this important topic.