Eye Injuries

Eye Injuries

Eye injuries are the most common preventable cause of blindness. While many minor eye irritations can be treated at home by flushing the eye with water, more serious injuries need medical attention. So when in doubt, err on the side of caution and call your doctor for help.

What to Do:

Routine Irritations
(sand, dirt, and other foreign bodies on the eye surface)

Embedded Foreign Body
(an object penetrates or enters the globe of the eye)

If an object, such as a piece of glass or metal, is sticking out of the eye, take the following steps:

Chemical Exposure

Call your local poison control center for specific instructions. Be prepared to give the exact name of the chemical, if you have it. However, do not delay flushing the eye first.

Black Eyes and Blunt Injuries

A black eye is often a minor injury. But this bruising also can be the result of a significant eye injury or head trauma. A visit to the doctor or an eye specialist might be needed to rule out serious injury, particularly if you're not sure what caused the black eye.

For a black eye:

If the injury happened during one of your child's routine activities, such as a sport, follow up by investing in an ounce of prevention — protective goggles or unbreakable glasses are vitally important.

Reviewed by: Jonathan H. Salvin, MD
Date reviewed: September 2014

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2015 KidsHealth® All rights reserved.
Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com

Bookmark and Share

Related Resources
OrganizationNational Safety Council The National Safety Council offers information on first aid, CPR, environmental health, and safety.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.
OrganizationAmerican Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus This organization provides vision information and resources.
Web SitePrevent Blindness America This website offers information, resources, vision tests, volunteer opportunities, and more.
Related Articles
Babysitting: Dealing With Eye Injuries What should you do if a child you're babysitting gets an eye injury? Our tip sheet can help you be prepared.
Corneal Abrasions Corneal abrasions, which are common among kids, happen when something gets into the eye. Though sometimes painful, they're rarely serious and usually heal within a few days.
Corneal Abrasions A corneal abrasion happens when something cuts, scratches, or scrapes the cornea (the clear tissue covering the eye). Most will heal in a couple of days.
Corneal Abrasions Did you know you can scratch your cornea? Find out how it can happen and be amazed at how quickly it usually heals.
When It's Just You in an Emergency In a medical emergency, kids can be heroes just by calling for help. Find out more in this article for kids.
First Aid: Eye Injuries Some eye injuries can be treated at home, while others require a visit to the doctor or emergency room. Find out what to do if your child has eye pain.
Glasses and Contact Lenses Sometimes the different parts of the eye don't work together the way they should. When this happens, people wear glasses or contact lenses. Find out more in this article for kids.
Your Child's Vision It's important for kids to have their eyes examined regularly, as many vision problems and eye diseases can be detected and treated early.
Getting Help: Know the Numbers The best time to prepare for an emergency is before one happens. Make sure your family knows emergency phone numbers - and make sure your kids know how to place a call for help.
A to Z: Contusion (Bruise), Eyelid Learn more about black eyes and eyelid contusions in children.
A to Z: Foreign Body, Eye To prevent damage to the eye, any object that isn't washed out right away by tears must be removed.
How to Use 911 You can be a big help when someone is hurt or in danger. How? By dialing 911. Find out more in this article for kids.
Knowing Your Child's Medical History In an emergency, health care professionals will have many questions about a patient's medical history. It's easy to compile this information now, and it could save critical minutes later.
Visual Impairment When one or more parts of the eye or brain that are needed to process images become diseased or damaged, severe or total loss of vision can occur. Read all about visual impairment.
Why Do Eyes Water? What does it mean when your eyes water? It's not the same as crying - or is it?
Finding Out About Fireworks Safety Fireworks are cool to watch, but it's best to let the professionals set them off. Find out more in this article for kids.
Your Eyes Ever wonder how your eyes work? This article for kids takes you from the pupil to the retina and beyond.
What You Need to Know in an Emergency In an emergency, it's hard to think clearly about your kids' health information. Here's what important medical information you should have handy, just in case.
Taking Care of Your Vision Even if you're lucky enough to have perfect vision, taking care of and protecting your eyes is vital to keeping your peepers perfect. Learn all about how to take care of your baby blues (or browns or greens) in this article.
Eyes Although your eyes are small, their structure is incredibly complex. Find out how they work in this body basics article.
Developments Developments
Sign up for enewsletter
Get involved Get involved
Discover ways to support Akron Children's
Join the conversation Join the conversation
See what our patient families are saying