The eye is a very delicate part of the body, easily injured, abused and contaminated. A poke to the eye, dirty contacts, aggressive rubbing, dust and debris are all capable of causing scratches to the cornea and can even impair your vision. How should this type of injury be handled to minimize further damage and vision loss?
In the interest of eye safety, the first thing to remember when a foreign object enters your eye is not to rub it as that will cause more extensive damage. Pulling out the upper eyelid and flushing the eye with saline or clean water while blinking is the best way to remove particles and minimize potential harm. If you notice any fragments on the cornea, do not try to remove them on your own. If you wear contact lenses, carefully remove the lens, rinse it off, and put it away or dispose of it.
Once you have performed some damage control, proceed to the emergency room or a doctor immediately for treatment. The doctor may use stain drops in the affected eye to have better visibility of scratches or objects on the cornea or surrounding area. While you may not think that a scratch on your cornea would be that painful, you may take it on faith that it is. A corneal abrasion may cause your eye to swell, tear, be extremely sensitive to light, be unable to open, and cause you vast amounts of torment.
Regardless of whether a scratch is diagnosed, the doctor may prescribe a variety of treatments to help expedite healing and ease your suffering. Antibiotic and pain relief drops may be administered to you at this point and will help soothe the nerves in your eye as well as prevent infection. Additionally you may receive oral pain medication to further assist you while the eye heals. Corneal scratches are certainly not a laughing matter, but one amazing trait of the eye is that it heals rapidly so your suffering may be short-lived.
Eye safety is an incredibly important way to preserve your vision and keep you seeing clearly for life. When working in questionable conditions, a pair of safety glasses can make all the difference. If an injury does occur, be sure to act quickly and seek medical attention.