- Injury to the eye, eyelid, or area around the eye
- Vision and Eye Injuries: It is important to test vision in both eyes. If there has been no damage to the vision, then most likely there is no serious injury to the eyeball. Test vision at home by covering each eye in turn and looking at a near object and then a distant object. Is the vision blurred in comparison to normal?
- Black Eye: Bruising and purple discoloration of the eyelids and upper cheek is referred to as a "black eye." Usually it is the result of a direct blow to this area (e.g., a punch). It gets worse for the first couple of days. It usually goes away in 2-3 weeks.
- Subconjunctival Hemorrhage: This is the medical term for a flame-shaped bruise of the white area of the eyeball, which sometimes occurs after a direct blow to the eye. It usually goes away in 2-3 weeks.
See More Appropriate Topic (instead of this one) If
FIRST AID Advice for Bleeding:
- Apply direct pressure to the entire wound with a clean cloth.
- Try to avoid pressure on the eyeball.
FIRST AID Advice for Penetrating Object: If penetrating object still in place, don't remove it (Reason: removal could cause bleeding or more damage).
FIRST AID Advice for Shock: Lie down with feet elevated.
Should I Call?
WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR
Call 911 Now (you may need an ambulance) If
- Knocked out (unconscious)
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
- You think you have a serious injury
- Vision is blurred or lost in either eye
- Severe pain
- Constant tearing or blinking
- Double vision or unable to look upward
- Bloody or cloudy fluid behind the cornea (clear part)
- Object hit the eye at high speed (such as from a lawn mower)
- Sharp object hit the eye (e.g., a metallic chip or flying glass)
- Skin is split open or gaping and may need stitches
- Any cut on the eyelid or eyeball
- Black eyes bilaterally (on both sides)
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
- You think you need to be seen
- Large swelling or bruise (wider than 2 inches) at the site of the injury
- Eyelids swollen shut
- No tetanus booster in more than 10 years (5 years for dirty cuts and scrapes)
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
- You have other questions or concerns
- Pain has not improved after 3 days
Self Care at Home If
- Minor eye injury and you don't think you need to be seen
Care at Home
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR MINOR INJURIES OF THE EYE
- Treatment of Superficial Cuts and Scrapes (abrasions) to Eyelid or Area around Eye:
- Apply direct pressure with a sterile gauze or clean cloth for 10 minutes to stop any bleeding.
- Wash the wound with soap and water for 5 minutes (Protect the eye with a clean cloth).
- Apply an antibiotic ointment. Cover large scrapes with a Band-Aid or dressing. Change daily.
- Treatment of Swelling or Bruise with Intact Skin:
- Apply an ice pack to the area for 20 minutes each hour for 4 consecutive hours.
- 48 hours after the injury, use local heat for 10 minutes 3 times each day to help reabsorb the blood.
- Treatment of Subconjunctival Hemorrhage (flame-shaped bruise of the white area of eyeball): No specific treatment is required. It usually goes away in 2-3 weeks.
- Pain Medicines:
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Pain becomes severe
- Pain does not improve after 3 days
- Changes in vision
- You become worse
And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
First Aid - Eyelids - Glass On
- Method 1: Bend forward and close the eyes. Have someone blow on the closed eyelids to get the flakes of glass off the skin.
- Method 2: Another technique is to touch the flakes of glass with a piece of tape. See drawing.
- To get off any remaining glass, splash water on the eyelids and face. Cover the eyes with a wet washcloth. Do not rub your eyes.
Source: LMS Inc.
Copyright 2000-2009. Self Care Decisions, LLC. Used by Permission.
Author and Senior Reviewer: David A. Thompson, M.D. Clinical content review provided by Senior Reviewer and Healthpoint Medical Network.
Last Review Date: 11/18/2011
Last Revised: 11/18/2011
Content Set: Adult HouseCalls Symptom Checker
Version Year: 2012
Portions Copyright 2000-2012 Self Care Decisions LLC; Copyright LMS, Inc.