|Cuts to the eye can be very frightening and even small, difficult to notice injuries are potentially very serious. However, medical treatments mean that even injuries that appear to be very severe may not necessarily result in the loss of sight in the eye. Do not touch the affected eye.
Prevent further injury and get medical help as soon as possible.
- Lie the person down, on his back if possible, and hold the head to prevent movement and keep it stable.
- Ask the person to try to keep his eye still to prevent movement of the injured eye. Ask the victim to focus on something to prevent movement.
- Ask the victim to hold a clean pad over the eye to help prevent movement and infection. If the wait for an ambulance or other help may take some time, you may wish to hold the pad for the person or to gently bandage it in place. However, because blood loss from the eye area is not likely to be life-threatening, any bandage should be used only to hold the pad in place and not to apply pressure.
Do not attempt to remove any object embedded in the eye. If the object is very long, then gently support it to prevent movement at its base. If small, ensure that the pad you place over the eye does not push it in any further.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF EYE WOUNDS
1. Knowing that something has impacted with the eye—this could be as small as a grain of sand or a splinter
2. Pain in the eye
- Loss or limitation of vision
TREATING AN OBJECT EMBEDDED IN THE WOUND
The first step in the treatment of any external bleeding is to check the extent of the injury and see if there is anything embedded in the wound.
- Apply pressure around the edges of the wound using your hands or the victim’s hands without pressing on the object.
- Replace pressure with a dressing or clean material and bandage firmly in place, avoiding pressure on the object.
- Raise the injured limb if possible to staunch the flow of blood.
- Prevent longer objects from moving by supporting them with your hands or by packing around the base of the object with blankets, for example.
- Treat the shock and reassure the victim.
If the victim is impaled on something which cannot be moved, support him or her to stop from pulling on the impaled object and causing further damage. Where possible, treat the victim and ensure that the emergency team is aware of the need for cutting equipment. For further information on impalement see page 80.
If there is something stuck into the injury, do not attempt to remove it because:
The principles of applying pressure, elevating, and treating for shock
- If the object went in at angle, you may cause more damage pulling it out
- You may leave splinters in the wound
- The object may be pressing against a vein or an artery, reducing blood loss
- You may have mistaken a broken bone for a foreign body