Care for Victims with Eye Injuries

An eye injury can result in severe lifelong complications and possibly irreversible damage including permanent blindness if not treated immediately. When suspicious about the severity of a suspected eye injury, promptly seek for medical help.

Foreign Objects in the Eye

Various types of objects can enter the eye and cause mild to severe problems affecting vision. Even a small foreign object such as a grain of sand or a dust particle can cause severe eye irritation and possibly infection if not properly treated.

Care for lose foreign objects in the eye

The following are basic first aid care for foreign objects lodged in the eye.

1. Pull the upper lid over the lower lid so that the lower eye lashes can brush the object off exposing the inside of the upper lid.
2. Position the eyelid by holding it in place and gently rinse it with warm running water.
3. Assess the lower lid by pulling it down slowly and gently. If you can get a glimpse of the foreign material, gently remove it with a moistened sterile gauze, clean cloth or cotton swab.
4. Examine the underside of the upper lid by holding the lashes of the upper lid while rolling down the lid upward over a cotton swab. If you see a foreign object, remove it using a moistened sterile gauze or clean cloth.

Additional instructions:

• Don not let the victim rub vigorously the affected eye.
• Never attempt to remove an embedded foreign object.
• Do not use dry cotton swabs or instruments such as tweezers to remove an object from the eye.

Penetrating Eye Injuries

Penetrating eye injuries occurs when a sharp object pierces the eyeball and then is withdrawn or when an object still remains lodged in the eye.

To care for victims with penetrating eye injuries you must do the following:

1. Stabilize the long embedded objects with a large dressing or clean cloth around the point of injury while.
2. Have the victim close his uninjured eye to prevent further strain in the eye muscles that connect both eyes.
3. Call for emergency care services or rush the victim to the hospital for further management.

Blows to the Eye

Blunt blows to the eye ranges from an ordinary black eye to severe damage that can result to permanent damage. To care for a blow to the eye, here is the basic first aid care:

1. Apply ice or cold pack for about 10-15 minutes to alleviate pain and swelling. Never apply the cold pack directly on the eyeball or apply any pressure to the eye itself.
2. Seek medical care immediately if pain persists or when vision worsens.

Eye Avulsion

An eye avulsion is the forcible separation of the eyeball from its socket. An avulsed eye occurs when enough force is applied to the head that causes the eyeball to be forcefully removed from its socket. Below are the steps to render emergency care for eye avulsion:

1. Have the victim cover the injured eye loosely with a clean or preferably sterile moistened dressing. Never attempt to push back the eye back into the socket.
2. Protect the injured eye using a paper cup help in place by an adhesive tape.
3. Let the victim close his uninjured eye to prevent undue strain to the eyes.
4. Immediately rush the victim to a nearby hospital for further management and possible emergency surgery to repair the eye.


Alton, T. et al (2012). First Aid, CPR and AED Standard 6th Ed. Jones & Bartlett Learning


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