Eye - Injury
- Injuries to the eye, eyelid, and area around the eye
- The main concern is whether the vision is damaged.
- Older children can tell us if their vision is blurred or out of focus. Test them at home by covering each eye in turn and having them look at a distant object.
- Children less than 5 years old usually need to be examined to rule out serious injuries affecting vision even if the injury seems minor.
See More Appropriate Topic (instead of this one) If
Should I Call?
WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
- You think your child has a serious injury
- Vision is blurred or lost in either eye
- Child reports double vision or unable to look upward
- Pupils unequal in size or abnormal shape
- Bloody or cloudy fluid behind the cornea (clear part)
- Object hit the eye at high speed (such as from a lawn mower, golf ball, fireworks)
- Sharp object hit the eye (such as metallic chip)
- Skin is split open or gaping and may need stitches
- Any cut on the eyelid or eyeball
- Constant tearing or blinking
- Child keeps the eye covered or refuses to open it
- Severe pain
- Age under 1 year old
- You think your child needs to be seen urgently
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
- You think your child needs to be seen, but not urgently
- Bruises near the eye (such as a black eye or bleeding into the white of the eyeball) in child less than 5 years old
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
- No tetanus shot in over 5 years for DIRTY cuts (over 10 years for CLEAN cuts)
- You have other questions or concerns
Parent Care at Home If
- Minor eye injury and you don't think your child needs to be seen
Care at Home
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR MINOR EYE INJURIES
- Superficial Cuts or Scrapes:
- Apply direct pressure for 10 minutes with a sterile gauze to stop any bleeding.
- Wash the wound with soap and water for 5 minutes. (Protect the eye with a clean cloth.)
- Apply antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin (no prescription needed) to cuts. Cover large scrapes with Band-Aid. Change daily.
- Swelling or Bruises with Intact Skin (including a Black Eye):
- Initially, apply a cold pack or ice bag wrapped in a wet cloth to the area for 20 minutes per hour to reduce the bleeding. Repeat for 4 consecutive hours.
- A black eye usually takes 1 to 2 days to develop.
- A flame-shaped bruise of the white of the eyeball is also common. (called a subconjunctival hemorrhage)
- After 48 hours, apply a warm wash cloth for 10 minutes 3 times per day to help reabsorb the blood.
- Pain Medicine: Give acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or ibuprofen as necessary for pain relief.
- Expected Course: Both of these injuries are harmless, last about 2 weeks and cannot be helped by any medicine.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Pain becomes severe
- Changes in vision
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
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Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. Clinical content review provided by Senior Reviewer and Healthpoint Medical Network.
Last Review Date: 6/1/2011
Last Revised: 8/1/2011
Content Set: Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker
Version Year: 2012
Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.