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How to Give First Aid and Care for Eye Emergencies?


Sep 07, 2023 | 3 min read

Eye care emergencies can happen unexpectedly and require immediate attention to minimize damage and discomfort. Knowing how to provide first aid for various eye emergencies can make a significant difference in the outcome.

Here are steps to give first aid and care for common eye emergencies:

Stay Calm: In any eye emergency, it’s essential to stay calm. Keeping the person in distress as calm as possible can help manage the situation effectively. Panic can exacerbate the problem.

Do Not Rub the Eye: Regardless of the nature of the eye emergency, avoid rubbing the affected eye, as it can worsen injuries or introduce foreign objects deeper into the eye.

Assess the Situation: Start by assessing the situation to determine the cause of the eye care emergency. Common eye emergencies include foreign objects in the eye, chemical exposure, blunt trauma, cuts or punctures, and more.

Understanding the cause will help you provide the most appropriate first aid.

Foreign Object in the Eye:

  • Encourage the person to blink several times to see if the object can be dislodged naturally.
  • If the object remains, do not attempt to remove it with your fingers or any sharp object, as you may cause further damage.
  • Instead, try to flush the eye gently with clean, lukewarm water using a clean cup, sterile saline solution, or an eye wash station if available.
  • Hold the eye open and pour water slowly over the eye from the inner corner to the outer corner. Continue flushing for at least 15 minutes, even if the object appears to be gone.
  • If the foreign object is still present or causing severe pain, seek immediate medical attention.

Chemical Exposure:

  • If a chemical substance splashes into the eye, immediately rinse the eye with clean, lukewarm water for at least 15–20 minutes. Use a clean cup, sterile saline solution, or an eye wash station if available.
  • Hold the eye open while flushing to ensure thorough cleaning.
  • Seek emergency medical attention as soon as possible. Provide information about the type of chemical exposure to healthcare professionals.

Blunt Trauma:

  • Apply a cold compress or ice pack wrapped in a clean cloth to the closed eye gently. Do not apply pressure directly to the eye.
  • This can help reduce swelling and minimize pain.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if there is significant pain, swelling, bleeding, or changes in vision.

Cuts or Punctures:

If an object has penetrated the eye or is stuck in it, do not attempt to remove it. Cover the eye with a clean, protective shield (e.g., a paper cup or the bottom of a plastic bottle) to prevent further damage.
Seek immediate medical attention. Do not delay, as these injuries can be very serious.

Chemical Splashes:

If a chemical splashes into the eye and the person is wearing contact lenses, do not try to remove them. Rinse the eye immediately, as described above, and seek medical attention.

Insects in the eye:

  • If an insect enters the eye, do not rub it. Try to gently blink or use artificial tears to flush it out.
  • If the insect remains, seek medical attention.

Prohibit Rubbing:

In all cases, advise the person not to rub or touch the affected eye, as it can worsen the injury.

Remember, when providing first aid and care for an eye emergency, it’s crucial to prioritize the safety and well-being of the individual. Seek professional medical assistance promptly, as many eye injuries and conditions require specialized care to prevent long-term damage and complications.

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