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First Aid

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Eye Injuries

The eyes are very sensitive, delicate, and susceptible to infection. All injuries are potentially dangerous, and medical help should be sought as soon as possible to prevent further eye damage.

Chemical and heat burns

First aid is vital if the eye is burnt by caustic chemicals, flame or steam.

Symptoms and signs

  • pain
  • sensitivity to light
  • profuse watering of the eye
  • reddened eyeballs
  • swollen lids

First aid treatment

  1. Open the casualty's eyelids gently.
  2. Flush the eye with gently running water for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Cover the eye with a light, sterile dressing or eye pad.
  4. Seek medical aid immediately.

Flash burns

These can be caused by the flash from an arc welder. Always wear protective goggles when welding.

Symptoms and signs

  • as for chemical and heat burns
  • worsening gritty feeling in the eyes

First aid treatment

  1. Apply a clean dressing or eye pad. Do not flush with water.
  2. Seek medical aid immediately.

Surface foreign bodies

An eyelash, speck of dust or other small particle can cause considerable discomfort.

Symptoms and signs

  • gritty feeling
  • pain and irritation
  • watering, red eye
  • sensitivity to light

Do not attempt to remove a foreign body from the surface of the cornea (transparent area in front of the coloured part of the eye).

First aid treatment

  1. Discourage rubbing of the eye.
  2. Gently flush the eye with clean water.
  3. If this does not remove the object, ask the person to look up. Gently hold the lids apart and try to remove the object, if visible, with the corner of a clean, moistened cloth.
  4. If you cannot see the object when the lids are held apart, take hold of the lashes of the upper lid and gently pull the lid down and over the lower lid.
  5. If this does not remove the object, seek medical aid.

Wounds and embedded foreign bodies

  • Do not attempt to examine the eye.
  • Advise the person not to touch the eye.
  • Do not attempt to remove any object embedded in any part of the eye.

First aid treatment

  1. Lay the person down.
  2. Place thick padding above and below the eye, then cover with a dressing. Do not allow the covering to press on the injured eye.
  3. Seek medical aid urgently.

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Disclaimer: is an information and educational purposes web site only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Do not rely upon any of the information provided on this site for medical diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your primary health care provider about any personal health concerns. We will not be liable for any complications, or other medical accidents arising from the use of any information on this site.