Eye Injuries

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Eye injuries

Eye injuries can occur in many settings, including at home, at work or when playing sports. Eye injuries must be treated seriously as damage to the eye can lead to permanent loss of sight. Accidents at work that lead to any injury likely to lead to permanent loss of sight or reduction in sight must be reported to the HSE under the RIDDOR 2013 (see link below for further guidance


Common types of eye injury are:

  • → Blows to the eye – such as being hit by a fist, elbow or ball
  • → Scratches and abrasions – such as from fingernails or tree branches
  • → Foreign bodies – such as small pieces of grit, wood or metal getting in the eye
  • → Penetrating or cutting injuries – such as cuts from glass or projectiles flung from tools
  • → Chemical burns – such as exposure to household cleaning products
  • → Radiation exposure – such as exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or sun lamps

You can flush your eyes in the following ways:

  1. Sit down and slant your head so the injured eye is lower than the unaffected eye (ideally over a bath or sink), then use a glass or cupped hand to repeatedly pour water across the eye from the bridge of the nose.
  2. If both eyes are affected, tilt your head back (keeping it level) and use a glass or cupped hand to repeatedly pour water across both eyes from the bridge of the nose.
  3. If you have access to a shower, aim a gentle stream of warm water at your forehead or just above the affected eye, while holding the affected eye open.
  4. If you are working outside, you can use a garden hose to rinse your eye, using a very low flow setting.

If an eye injury has been caused by a chemical entering the eye, follow the safety information on the container. In the workplace follow the COSHH guidance for the substance. Household chemicals such as bleach also have first aid advice on the packaging.

When to seek immediate medical advice

You should go immediately to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department if you have any of the following:

  • → Persistent or severe eye pain
  • → Foreign bodies that can’t be washed out
  • → Decreased or double vision
  • → Flashing lights, spots, halos or shadows in your field of vision
  • → Blood visible in your eye
  • → Pain when exposed to bright light
  • → Deep cuts around your eye

If medical attention is being sought cover the eye with a sterile dressing to protect it. The injured person should rest the other eye or close it to reduce the movement to the injured eye.

This information has been taken from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Eye-injuries/Pages/Introduction.aspx


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