Whether it’s bruise, scrapes, or more serious injuries, kids seem to constantly be hurting their eyes. This can be concerning to parents, especially since eye injuries tend to look much more dangerous than they actually are. If you’re not sure, it’s best to get an eye exam from a qualified optometrist to make sure no permanent damage has been done. Read on to learn more about the most common types of children’s eye injuries.
At some point, every child comes home with a swollen or black eye. These children’s eye injuries are usually not serious, although they can be quite painful. In most cases, eye swelling is caused from a hard impact, such as being struck by a baseball or hockey stick. Eyelids often puff up, while the whites of the eyes turn bright red. After a few days, the tissues around the eye will usually fade to black and blue.
The best thing to do is apply ice packs to reduce the swelling, and give some painkillers to alleviate any soreness. It’s not imperative that your child sees an optometrist right away, but you should schedule an appointment to make sure that no internal damage has occurred.
Sometimes, accidents happen and a sharp object like a fishhook or thumbtack can become lodged in a child’s eye. If this occurs, do not try to remove the object or touch the eye. This frequently causes even worse damage, either by spreading tiny particles around the surface of the eye or by creating a larger wound.
Instead, cover the eye with a paper cup or loose bandage and get your child to the emergency room immediately. Rust particles or scarring quickly contaminate the eye, which can cause vision loss or serious infection.
Another common children’s eye injury is a subconjunctival hemorrhage, which occurs when blood leaks from a rupture in one of the blood vessels that sit between the sclera (white of the eye) and the clear covering that protects the eye (conjunctiva). Since this blood vessels are small and delicate, a very minor bump or bruise can cause the whites of the eye to appear bright pink or even red.
Fortunately, this injury often looks—and sounds—a lot worse than it actually is. Subconjunctival hemorrhages rarely cause any pain or loss of vision, and they almost never require medical care. Check the eye regularly and monitor for any changes, but the blood should painlessly drain away in several weeks. If the sight of the bright red eye bothers your child, simply cover it with a bandage or wrap while it heals.
These children’s eye injuries happen quite often and usually require minimal care. Babies can easily scratch their eyes with a sharp fingernail, and older children often scratch their eyes on tree branches. However, in some situations, a scrape across the surface of the eye can be very dangerous.
While the scratch itself rarely causes any long-term issues, it can make the eye vulnerable to bacterial infection. This is especially true if dirt or other contaminants have entered the scratch. If a serious infection goes untreated, they can result in permanent vision loss or even blindness in as little as a day.
If you suspect that your child has suffered a corneal abrasion, contact an optometrist or emergency room immediately. Make sure that they do not rub the eye, even if it feels itchy or uncomfortable. Although the eye may be sensitive to light, resist the temptation to cover it with a bandage or patch, which will provide a dark and warm environment for bacteria to grow. Keep the eye closed, and get your child to the doctor right away.
Contact An Expert
Dealing with children’s eye injuries can be frightening and intimidating, especially if you aren’t sure exactly how to treat them. If you are ever concerned about an eye injury, it’s better to be safe and contact a professional. Dr. Barry Leonard and his staff have years of experience in treating both small bruises and traumatic eye injuries. Call us at 818-891-6711 to schedule an appointment!