According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, over 2 million people in the United States sustain eye injuries every year. Sadly, up to 50% of these victims get permanent damage and lose at least partially their eyesight.
Eye injuries can occur in any setting – at home, at work or during sporting activities. Eye injuries are mostly cased by chemicals, sharp objects, small particles and our own body parts through impacts.
Although the structure of the human face is anatomically shaped to reduce the possibility of an eye injury, they still occur quite often. However, most eye injuries are preventable.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology identifies the common symptoms of eye injury:
– Blurred vision.
– Watery discharge.
– Sensitivity to light.
– Decreased eye vision.
The following are the most common eye injuries:
This kind of injury happens when a chemical substance comes in contact with an eye. Fumes, vapors and household cleaning products can cause chemical burns. Chemical exposures can cause irritation, redness, swelling and even blindness to the eyes. Whenever a chemical substance gets in an eye, it’s recommended to put your face under a stream of slightly warm water for approximately five minutes. Let the water run into your eye and down your face.
Scratches are often caused when a person is poked in an eye or when they rub their eyes in an attempt to remove a foreign body like dust or sand. Scratches can cause severe eye discomfort if not attended to in the shortest time possible. Moreover, scratches can make the eye susceptible to bacterial or fungal infection. If some foreign body gets into your eye, don’t rub it. Instead, keep it closed and seek medical attention or, if for some reason you can’t go to a doctor right away, you may try to remove the foreign body by simple irrigation following these instructions.
The major causes of flash burns include welding, UV light from sunlight, sunlamps and more. Severe flash burns can cause permanent eye damage.
Impacts are very common in sports activities. Often, they result in a simple black eye that doesn’t require special medical attention. A serious impact, however, can lead to internal eye damage. So if any of the symptoms above manifest after an impact, you should seek emergency care.
Since most cases of eye injury are reported at work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), estimates that 90% of eye injuries in the workplace are preventable through the use of proper protective eyewear while undertaking risky activities. Put on safety glasses with side shields when working with tools that might cause eye injury. Wear goggles when working with risky chemicals.