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Emergency Eye Care Tips

You should always seek immediate care if you believe your eyesight is in jeopardy or if you are in severe pain. In addition, seek immediate attention if you have the following symptoms:

  • Sudden vision loss, in one or both eyes
  • Sudden, severe pain in or around the eye
  • Redness accompanied by pain in the eye
  • Halos (colored circles around lights)
  • Bulging of the eye or swelling of eye tissues
  • Double vision
  • Sudden crossed, turned or “wandering” eye
  • Sudden blurring of vision that lasts more than one day

Eye Injury Safety

Even a minor eye injury can cause serious, lifelong eye damage. For example, bleeding within the eye, caused by an eye injury, can cause glaucoma later in life. Eye injuries can cause loss of vision, or complete loss of an eye. Listed below are tips for preventing eye injuries, as well as information about first aid treatment in the event of an eye injury.

First Aid Treatment For Eye Injuries

Never try to guess about the severity of an eye injury. Seek medical attention as soon as possible following an eye injury, particularly if you have pain in the eye, blurred vision, loss of vision or loss of field of vision.

Blows To The Eye (sticks, stones, punches, branches, etc.)

  • DO place a small, soft plastic sandwich bag wrapped in a clean cloth or gauze, filled with crushed ice (the size of a golf ball) gently over the eye, taping it to the forehead, to reduce pain and swelling. Whole ice cubes or commercial ice packs are too heavy and may cause further damage.
  • DO see an eye doctor immediately if there is severe swelling or bleeding, decrease or loss of vision or field of vision, or double vision.
  • DO NOT allow the injured person to blow his nose, because, in case of a fracture of the orbit (socket), bacteria from the sinuses may be blown into the tissues around the eye, causing eye infection.
  • DO NOT allow injured person to rub the eye.
  • DO NOT apply pressure to the eye.
  • DO seek medical help immediately.
  • DO protect the eye with something hard, such as sunglasses or the bottom half of a milk carton or bottom half of a paper cup or Styrofoam cup taped over the eye, while en route to medical care.
  • DO NOT wash out the eye or try to remove an object stuck in the eye or orbit (socket).

Chemical Exposure

(i.e. oven cleaner, drain cleaner, Clorox bleach, or other caustic products or concentrated acid products)

  • DO immediately flush the eye with water or any drinkable liquid (such as milk, Gatorade, juice, etc.), continuously for at least 30 minutes, Dilution as well as washing out particulate matter is the key.
  • DO hold head under a shower spray or water fountain or use a garden hose at low pressure to pour water into the eye. Even use swimming pool water ASAP!
  • Flush the eye(s) even before trying to call 911! Leaving for the hospital or taking time to call a physician before flushing the eye first will only allow additional damage to occur and could mean loss of vision.
  • DO NOT try to neutralize the chemical!

Cuts or Punctures of the Eye or Eyelid

  • DO seek medical help immediately.
  • DO protect the eye with something hard, such as sunglasses or the bottom half of a milk carton or bottom half of a paper cup or Styrofoam cup taped over the eye, while en route to medical care.
  • DO NOT wash out the eye or try to remove an object stuck in the eye or orbit (socket).
  • DO NOT apply pressure to the eye.

Foreign Body in the Eye

  • DO see an eye doctor immediately if the particle does not wash out or if pain persists.
  • DO allow natural tearing to flush out the particle. If it does not flush out, use a squeeze-type bottle of commercial eye solution to irrigate the eye, which may dislodge the particle.
  • DO NOT use Visine, unless it is the only eye drops and do not use for more than the first few hours.
  • DO NOT remove protruding objects. Seek immediate medical aid.
  • DO NOT directly rub speck or particle. Pull upper eyelid down over the lower eyelid and allow it to push the speck out of the eye.

Eye Protection & Safety Tips

Most eye injuries could have been prevented!

Please, wear appropriate eye protection (and encourage your children to do so) when participating in sports and recreational activities.

Also use eye protection when doing carpentry (hammering nails, sawing wood) or when working near machinery, lawn mowers, weeding power equipment, car batteries, chemicals or anything that may cause flying particles.

  • DO be sure that the lenses and frames of safety glasses are certified and have passed the standard written by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) also writes standards for sports/recreational eye protectors. Polycarbonate lenses are also recommended.
  • The better sports eye protectors are made of polycarbonate with molded temples. Wear eye appropriate protection (i.e. splash goggles) when using such potentially hazardous substances as ammonia, oven clean and other chemicals.
  • DO wear sunglasses, pain or with prescription lenses, to protect the eyes against sunlight and on cloudy days to protect against ultraviolet radiation. Make certain the sunglasses specify 99% ultraviolet blocking capability because darkness of lenses does not mean the same thing and darker lenses are not always better.
  • DO wear polycarbonate protection eyewear during waking hours if you have good vision in only one eye.
  • DO turn your face away or close your eyes when spraying perfume, hair spray or deodorant. Use care when applying lotions, creams, or oils on the eyelids or around the eyes. If you are exposed to these or other chemicals, sever irritation may result.
  • DO NOT substitute ordinary street wear glasses or contact lenses for appropriate eye protection. Ordinary glasses may break on impact, often leading to severe eye injury, and contact lenses provide no protection whatsoever against eye injury. Polycarbonate lenses are the most impact resistant material.
  • DO NOT allow children to play with hazardous “toys” such as BB, pellet or paintball guns, bows and arrows, darts or firecrackers. Injuries sustained by both children and adults when using these items have often resulted in permanent damage or loss of an eye. Common sense tells us to supervise and chaperone the children.
  • DO NOT wear dark or heavily tinted glasses at night.

Contact Lens Wearers

Remove your contact lenses before entering a pool or hot tub. Chlorination may not kill harmful bacteria or parasites in the water. If you wear contact lenses and they are exposed to bacteria, serious eye infection and corneal disease may result.

Use only commercially prepared solutions for contact lens care. Avoid homemade saline solutions of salt tablet and distilled or tap water.

  • DO NOT ever tap or distilled water, or saliva to rinse contact lenses. After lenses have been removed, always disinfect and rinse them before reinserting. Failure to adhere to a strict cleaning routine can result in severe infection, corneal disease, blinding scars and even loss of an eye.
  • DO NOT substitute ordinary street wear glasses or contact lenses for appropriate eye protection. Ordinary glasses may break on impact, often leading to sever eye injury, and contact lenses provide no protection whatsoever against eye injury.

Sports Injuries

What sport causes the most ocular injuries in the U.S.?

In 1998, basketball was responsible for over one-third of the eye injuries, but not that protective gear is required buy many organizations, basketball has become a strong contender for first place for an estimated 9,000 eye injuries.

Swimming and pool sports resulted in an estimated 5,000 eye injuries. Baseball had been the most common, but fell to third place with 4,000 cases.

The majority of these and other sports- related and recreational activities and eye injuries have been prevented if the athletes had worn appropriate, certified protective eyewear.

The right kind of protective eyewear can make a huge difference. For example, in Canada, ocular trauma related to ice hockey decreased by 90% after certified full-face protector and headgear was made mandatory in organized amateur hockey.

If you think sports-related eye injuries are not important, think about these facts:

  • The average hockey puck travels at 90-100 mph.
  • Professional baseball players throw balls at about 85 mph or faster.
  • High-speed film has demonstrated that elite squash players strike the ball at 125-145 mph.
  • A badminton shuttlecock has been clocked at 140 mph.
  • Polycarbonate protects against a .22 caliber bullet.

If you consider that even a novice 12-year-old squash player can hit a ball at 80 mph, you will understand that high-velocity flying objects can do irreparable damage to the human eye.

Your vision is precious, protect it.

Sports Injuries: Children

Children are at particular risk for a sports-related eye injury. Every year, 24,000 children sustain serious sports-related eye injuries. That is why it is essential that all children wear appropriate, protective eyewear whenever playing sports.

Basketball is responsible for 2,300 eye injuries in children age 5 to 14. It accounts for 3,700 eye injuries in teens and young adults (15-24 years old).

It may be surprising to know that it is not the ball that causes most of these injuries, but rather the fingers and elbows of other players.

Almost all of these injuries could have been prevented had the child worn appropriate protective eyewear.

Parents are advised to acquaint themselves with the potential for eye injuries in sports and recreational activities including gym and to insist that their children use appropriate, protective eyewear when participating in sports or other fun activities.

Just as your child wears a bike helmet, so must he or she learn to automatically reach for sport-appropriate, protective eyewear when heading for the field or court.

Protective Eyewear

Not all eyewear is alike. The eye specialists at Melchert Eye Care recommend you always use appropriate, certified eyewear whenever participating in sports.

If you wear prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, remember that they never substitute for appropriate, well-fitted protective eyewear.

You may however, obtain prescription eyewear at the Melchert Eye Care Center that is made of impact resistant materials preferably polycarbonate that passes the appropriate standard.

Lens less goggles offer no protection.

Eye Protection Standards and Guidelines

American National Standards Institute

  • ANSI Z80.5 – 1997 Requirements for Ophthalmologic frames
  • ANSI Z80.1 – 1995 Prescription Ophthalmic lens recommendations
  • ANSI Z80.3 – 1996 Requirements for non-prescription sunglasses and fashion wear
  • NOTE: