A minor eye injury can be uncomfortable and distressing. The human eye is an amazingly fine tuned machine with many subtleties. If the injury is serious, you should seek medical treatment immediately. If you feel you have a minor injury and want to treat it at home, the following eight tips will prove useful.
Wash Your Hands
When touching your eye, make sure to use only clean hands, swabs and bandages when treating the eye. If the injury was sustained under circumstances in which infectious bacteria or fungi are likely present (such as a cat scratch), you should see a doctor immediately.
Remove the Irritant
Flushing is ideal for removing most substances. Generally, only a professional should use swabs or anasthetic in the eye.
This is especially important if you think it is possible that foreign material may still be present in the eye. A very small amount of dust or dirt could easily scratch the cornea if rubbed in through the eyelid.
Keep It Clean
The most dangerous aspect of a minor eye injury is the possibility of infection. Some bacteria and fungi can cause permanent vision impairment or even complete blindness within 1-2 days. Continue to wash your hands thoroughly as you may touch the irritated area inadvertently during the healing process.
Get Some Sleep
Rest is what a minor eye injury is likely to need most so, if possible, catch some Z’s and you may awake to find the pain has passed.
Cover or Close the Eye
The cover should be loose fitting (not a patch) to minimize risk of infection. A paper cup that is carefully taped on should work. This is really the best option if you can’t sleep.
Minimize Light Exposure
If it is not possible to sleep or cover the eye, you might lower the light levels in order to give the eye a break and reduce squinting. Extreme light sensitivity that does not subside may be a sign that the scratch is too serious to forgo a doctor’s treatment.
Be Safe, Not Sorry!
If you are experiencing swelling, puffiness, extreme redness, bleeding, or if you think the cornea may actually be scratched, loosely cover the injured eye and seek medical attention immediately. If there are chemicals involved (anything abrasive, acid, alkaline, even chalk dust) rinse the eye for fifteen minutes and get to a doctor. The eye is one of the most complex and delicate organs in the body so don’t take chances with your vision.