Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

First Aid & Emergencies

Font Size

Eye Injuries (Children)

Call 911 if the child has:

  • An object such as a piece of glass or metal or a pencil stuck in an eye
  • Problems seeing
  • Uneven pupils
  • Very bad eye pain
  • Blood in an eye
  • Nausea or vomiting after an eye injury
  • Been in contact with chemicals

  • An object such as a piece of glass or metal or a pencil stuck in an eye
  • Problems seeing
  • Uneven pupils
  • Very bad eye pain
  • Blood in an eye
  • Nausea or vomiting after an eye injury
  • Been in contact with chemicals

 

Simply flushing the eye with water often helps when your child has something in her eye. But serious eye injuries need immediate medical care.

Call Doctor If Your Child:

  • Is younger than 1
  • Has been hit in the eye with an object
  • Has an irritated or red eye
  • has continuous tearing
  • Has an eye that's extremely sensitive to light
  • Keeps blinking
  • Has a painful, swollen, or red area close to the eyelid or eye
  • Has a cut on the eyeball or eyelid
  • May need stitches

Treating a Child's Minor Eye Irritation

1. Clean Up

  • Wash your hands.

2. Stop Rubbing

  • Keep the child from rubbing the eye.

3. Rinse the Eye

  • Hold the child's head over a sink, facing down and to the side, and hold the eye open.
  • Gently pour water over the eye for five minutes and see whether the object is out. Repeat up to two more times if the object does not come out of the eye.
  • If the object is still in the eye, put a light bandage over it and take the child to the emergency room.

Treating an Object Stuck in the Eye

1. Protect the Eye

  • Tape a paper cup over the eye.
  • Do not try to remove the object.

2. Go to the Emergency Room

Treating a Minor Cut or Scratch Around the Eye

1. Stop the Bleeding

  • Hold gauze on the wound for 10 minutes.

2. Clean the Injury

  • Cover the eye with a cloth for protection, and wash the area with clean water for a few minutes.

3. Protect the Wound

  • Ask your pediatrician whether you should use antibiotic ointment if the wound is close to the eye or eyelid.
  • Put a bandage on the wound.
  • Change the bandage every day.

4. Provide Pain Relief

  • Give child-formula acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain, if needed.
  • Do not give aspirin to a child under 16 years of age.

Treating a Black Eye, Bruising, or Swelling

1. Check for Further Injury

  • If you suspect broken bones, damage to the eye, or a head injury, take the child to the emergency room.
  • If the black eye was caused by something hitting the eye, call your pediatrician.

2. Apply Cold 

  • Put an ice pack on the area for 20 minutes each hour to lessen swelling. Repeat for four hours. Don't press on the eye.

3. Apply Heat

  • After 2 days, switch to a warm cloth on the area for 10 minutes, three times daily.

4. Provide Pain Relief

  • Give child-formula acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) for pain, if needed.
  • Do not give aspirin to a child under 16 years of age.

Treating Chemical Exposure

1. Clean Up

  • Wash your hands.

2. Prevent Rubbing

  • Keep the child from rubbing the affected eye.

3. Immediately Rinse the Eye

  • Hold the child's head over a sink, facing down and to the side, and hold the eye open. If outside, use whatever water is closest -- water fountain, garden hose.
  • Pour water over the eye for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • If the chemical is in both eyes, rinse them in the shower.

4. Go to the Emergency Room

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on September 14, 2013

First Aid A-Z

  • There are no topics that begin with 'O'
  • There are no topics that begin with 'Q'
  • There are no topics that begin with 'U'
  • There are no topics that begin with 'X'
  • There are no topics that begin with 'Y'
  • There are no topics that begin with 'Z'

Today on WebMD

Antibiotic on hand
Slideshow
3d scan of fractured skull
Slideshow
 
Father putting ointment on boy's face
Slideshow
Person taking food from oven
Q&A
 

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

sniffling child
Slideshow
wound care true or false
Slideshow
 
caring for wounds
Slideshow
Harvest mite
Slideshow
 

WebMD the app

Get first aid information. Whenever. Wherever... with your iPhone, iPad or Android.

Find Out More