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Eye Injuries - Home Treatment

Most minor eye injuries can be treated at home.

  • If you have a cut on your eyelid, apply a sterile bandage or cloth to protect the area. If you don't have a sterile bandage, use a clean cloth. Do not use fluffy cotton bandages around the eye. They could tear apart and get stuck in the eye. Keep the bandage clean and dry.
  • To reduce swelling around the eye, apply ice or cold packs for 15 minutes 3 or 4 times a day during the first 48 hours after the injury. The sooner you apply a cold pack, the less swelling you are likely to have. Place a cloth between the ice and your skin. After the swelling goes down, warm compresses may help relieve pain.
  • Do not use chemical cooling packs on or near the eye. If the pack leaks, the chemicals could cause more eye damage. Do not use a piece of raw meat on an injured eye.
  • Keep your head elevated to help reduce swelling.
  • Try a nonprescription pain medicine such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin to relieve pain. Do not take aspirin if you are younger than 20 unless your doctor tells you to.

More specific home treatment can be used for certain types of eye injuries.

If your eye symptoms are not completely gone after 24 hours of home treatment, see your doctor.

Eye injury in a child

Applying first aid measures for an eye injury in a child may be difficult, depending on the child's age, size, and ability to cooperate. Having another adult help you treat the child is helpful. Stay calm and talk in a soothing voice. Use slow, gentle movements to help the child remain calm and cooperative. A struggling child may need to be held strongly so that first aid can be started and the seriousness of the eye injury assessed.

Medicine you can buy without a prescription
Try a nonprescription medicine to help treat your fever or pain:

Talk to your child’s doctor before switching back and forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.

Safety tips
Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
  • Carefully read and follow all directions on the medicine bottle and box.
  • Do not take more than the recommended dose.
  • Do not take a medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past.
  • If you have been told to avoid a medicine, call your doctor before you take it.
  • If you are or could be pregnant, do not take any medicine other than acetaminophen unless your doctor has told you to.
  • Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless your doctor tells you to.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 23, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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