Eye Injuries - Topic Overview
A foreign object in the
eye, such as dirt, an eyelash, a contact lens, or makeup, can cause eye
- Objects may scratch the surface of the eye
(cornea) or become stuck on the eye. If the
cornea is scratched, it can be hard to tell whether
the object has been removed, because a scratched cornea may feel painful and as
though something is still in the eye. Most corneal scratches are minor and heal
on their own in 1 or 2 days.
- Small or sharp objects traveling at
high speeds can cause serious injury to many parts of the eyeball. Objects
flying from a lawn mower, grinding wheel, or any tool may strike the eye and
possibly puncture the eyeball. Injury may cause bleeding between the iris and
cornea (hyphema), a
change in the size or shape of the pupil, or damage to
the structures inside the eyeball. These objects may be deep in the eye and may
require medical treatment.
In the case of a car air bag inflating, all three types
of eye injuries can occur. The force of impact can cause a blow to the eye,
foreign objects may enter the eye, and chemicals in the air bag can burn the
Eye injuries can be prevented by using protective eyewear.
Wear safety glasses, goggles, or face shields when working with power tools
or chemicals or when doing any activity that might cause an object or substance to
get into your eyes. Some professions, such as health care and construction, may
require workers to use protective eyewear to reduce the risk of foreign objects
or substances or body fluids getting in the eyes.
After an eye
injury, you need to watch for
vision changes and
symptoms of an infection. Most minor eye injuries can
be treated at home. See Home Treatment for first aid
Check your symptoms to decide if and when
you should see a doctor.