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What should I do if my child injures their eye?

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If your child injures their eye, it’s important to assess the situation calmly and quickly to determine the severity of the injury and whether immediate professional medical care is needed. Here are some general guidelines on what to do:

  • Do Not Apply Pressure: If the injury seems severe, avoid applying pressure to the eye or the eye area.
  • Examine for Obvious Injury: Gently examine the eye for any visible foreign bodies or signs of injury. Do not attempt to remove objects that are embedded.
  • For Chemical Burns:
    • Rinse the eye immediately with plenty of clean water or saline solution. Do this for at least 15-20 minutes.
    • Remove contact lenses if they are still in the eye and continue rinsing.
    • Seek medical attention immediately after rinsing.
  • For Blows to the Eye:
    • Apply a cold compress gently without putting pressure on the eye. This can help reduce swelling and pain.
    • Do not use steak or raw meat as a compress, as often depicted in movies, because of the risk of infection.
    • Watch for signs of more serious injury, such as blurred vision or persistent pain, and seek medical care if these occur.
  • For Foreign Bodies:
    • If an object is on the white part of the eye or under the lower eyelid and can be easily removed, you may use a dampened cloth or rinse the eye with water.
    • Do not attempt to remove objects that are embedded or if the object is on the colored part of the eye (the iris).
    • Avoid rubbing the eye.
  • For Cuts or Punctures:
    • Do not rinse the eye.
    • Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye.
    • Cover the eye with a rigid shield, like the bottom half of a paper cup, without putting pressure on the eye.
    • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Seek Professional Help:
    • For any serious injury, chemical exposure, or if there is a foreign body that cannot be easily removed, seek medical attention immediately.
    • Go to the emergency room or call your child’s pediatrician or an ophthalmologist.
  • Watch for Emergency Signs:
    • Immediate medical attention is needed if you notice any of these signs: severe pain, vision loss, blood pooling in the eye, unusual pupil size or shape, obvious deformity of the eye area, or anything else that seems abnormal.

Prevention is key to avoiding eye injuries, so encourage the use of protective eyewear during sports and recreational activities, and educate your child on safe handling of toys, chemicals, and sharp objects. Remember, timely medical intervention is crucial in preserving vision and preventing further injury.

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The Pediatric.me content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for medical advice of a physician