Each day, thousands of eye injuries occur in the United States. Because many people fail to realize how serious these injuries are, millions go without proper treatment. Delaying or refusing treatment can often lead to serious damage or even permanent vision loss. If you do not have ophthalmological training, it is impossible to correctly recognize or respond to a delicate eye injury. Don’t put your eyes at risk! Read on to learn how to recognize the most common eye injuries, what you can do to prevent them, and when to see your eye doctor right away.
One of the most common eye injuries in the United States is simple eye trauma, which occurs when a direct blow comes into contact with the eye. Older adults sometimes experience eye trauma as the result of a fall, while young people more frequently come to the hospital because of fighting or sports accidents. Eye trauma can be a very serious injury, and it requires immediate medical attention. Here are some of the signs that you are suffering from eye trauma:
- Severe pain
- Difficulty moving the eye
- Unusually large or irregularly shaped pupil
- Blood in the eye
- Objects embedded or stuck under the eyelid
One eye may also stick out further than the other. In some cases, blunt trauma can also cause bleeding inside the eye. As blood pours into the eye, pressure will quickly increase, causing the eyelid to swell and the eye itself to become red. This type of trauma, called a hyphema, can lead to permanent vision damage or even blindness if it is not immediately treated.
Scratches to the cornea, the clear and soft surface of the eye, are another of the more common eye injuries. Most of these are fairly minor and can be addressed with a quick appointment. Your eye doctor will apply a brightly colored dye to the cornea in order to determine the location of the scratch, then prescribe antibiotic drops as treatment.
Sharp objects, particularly those made of glass and metal, can cut beneath the surface of the eye and cause more serious vision damage. If the laceration appears to be deeper than the cornea, then it is important to get to the doctor or an emergency room immediately.
The eyeball is not the only part of the eye that can sustain serious injury. Eyelid injuries may not seem particularly dangerous, but trauma to the eyelid also frequently affects the tubes that drain tears from the eye. Many of these injuries are caused by pet scratches or bites, sticks, or paintball and airsoft guns. Eyelid trauma usually requires stitches, and if any harm is done to the tear drainage system your eye doctor may need to insert an artificial tube to replace the damage.
Blunt trauma to the eye area can also fracture the delicate facial bones that support the eye. Sports injuries and falls are most frequently to blame for these injuries, which can also damage the fragile tissues and musculature of the face. If not treated right away facial fractures can heal improperly, causing abnormal regrowth or even permanent loss of vision.
As you can see, it is very important to address these common eye injuries quickly and completely. Even if the injury seems very minor, you should always see a professional to make sure that no lasting damage has been done to your eyes. If you ever find yourself on the receiving end of an eye injury, get in touch with Dr. Leonard and his staff immediately at 818-891-6711.