Eye Injuries:


The structure of the face helps to protect the eyes from injury. Each eyeball is set into a protective socket of bone known as the orbit, and the eyelids can close very quickly to form a protective barrier. However the eye can still be injured as a result of a direct blow, metal, grit, fluids, chemicals or dust particles.


Although uncommon, all eye injuries are potentially serious due to the possibility of damaging the patient's vision. Even superficial grazes to the cornea of the eye can lead to infection and subsequently permanent damage. An eye injury is classified as superficial (i.e. affecting only the surface) if it does not penetrate beneath the Bowmans Membrane (a smooth layer located in the cornea).


Signs & Symptoms:

  • Intense pain within or near the eyelids.
  • Visible wound (bruising or bloodshot appearance).
  • Partial or total loss of vision.
  • Blood around the eye or within the eye.



  • Wash small pieces of dirt, grit or dust out of the eye with cold tap water or sterile eye wash.
  • Encourage the patient to keep still with a soft sterile pad/dressing over the injured eye.
  • Encourage the patient to close their good eye as this will help stop movement in the injured eye.
  • If necessary dress both eyes. Please be aware this could prove distressing for the patient so keep talking to them.
  • In the case of a chemical getting in the eye, wear cloves and wash with lots of clean water ensuring water runs away from the good eye. Firmly open the patient's eyelid to irrigate the eye fully.



  • DO NOT attempt to remove an embedded foreign object from the patient's eye.



We hope you find this article useful. This is one in an alphabetical series of articles addressing various symptoms and their first aid treatments. If you would like more information on related resuscitation and first aid training, please get in touch.


You might also be interested in our blog 'Dealing with a hypo when someone is drunk' by Tim Hart.


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