Causes and types of eye injuries

There are several common causes of eye injury, which have different outcomes depending on the extent of the injury and degree of disability that follows. Some of the common causes are listed below.

Chemical injury (splash)

A splash in the eye by anything other than clean water can be dangerous. Some substances sting when they get into the eye accidentally (e.g. lemon juice, salty water), but are harmless. Others can cause serious damage (e.g. cleaning fluids, agricultural chemicals). Acids cause more damage to the delicate structures of the eye than most other chemicals.

Scratch by a foreign body

Any foreign body (e.g. a speck of dust or some dirt) that gets into contact with the eye accidentally causes a scratch to the cornea or sclera. This can be painful at the time it happens, and cause the eye to 'water' as a way of flushing the dirt out of the eye. If the scratch is not deep it will usually soon heal. However, a deep scratch can cause impaired vision if it leaves a scar on the cornea.

Penetration by sharp objects

Penetration of the cornea (or rarely the sclera) can happen due to sharp objects accidentally entering the eye and penetrating the eyeball. This causes intense pain, redness and excessive weeping of tears from the eye and can lead to permanent sight problems. The objects causing the injury can be fragments of wood, metal or stones, and such accidents often happen at work.

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A young man at risk of a penetrating eye injury. He is not wearing anything to protect his eyes while working.

Blunt (non-penetrating) injury

The eye can get injured by a blow, for example in a fight or a fall, without any penetration in the eye structure externally. The surface of the eye looks very red, due to bleeding from tiny blood capillaries in the sclera. The eye may swell and vision may be affected, but usually the swelling will go down and the blood will be absorbed into the body over several days or weeks.

Injury to the eyelids

You may come across someone who has got a cut to the eyelids following a blow or sharp injury. There may also be swelling without a cut over the eyelids..

Now it is time to tell you about first aid supportive care for such a problem, and all the other eye injuries described above

Last modified: Friday, 4 July 2014, 10:17 AM