Top 5 Common Eye Injuries and How to Prevent Them: Insights from Doig Optometrist

Our eyes are some of the most valuable organs that allow us to perceive the world around us. Keeping our eyes healthy can be as easy as taking preventative measures to avoid accidents, as our eyes are sensitive and can be prone to injuries. As trusted optometrists in Calgary, the doctors at Doig Optometry often encounter various eye injuries. To help you maintain optimal eye health, here’s a look at the top five common eye injuries and how to prevent them.

Corneal Abrasion (Scratched Eye)

When your cornea becomes scratched, it can cause excruciating pain, sensitivity to light and redness of the eye. When a foreign object enters your eye, your first instinct might be to rub your eye to get it out, but that can make it worse. To prevent corneal abrasion, avoid rubbing your eyes aggressively if you think something got in your eye. Instead, use artificial tears to try and flush any foreign substance away.

Some of the common sources of corneal abrasion are tree branches, a baby’s fingernail, and make up applicators. It will soon be spring, and tree branches can spring back at you while working in the garden, while cycling, or while jogging. Wearing safety glasses is ideal, but even wearing sunglasses will offer some protection. In the case of fingers and make up, the best prevention is mindful attention. Be present in the moment when you are playing with the baby, they can move fast! Be mindful and on task when applying your make-up. Most patients admit that they were distracted when they accidentally scratched their own eye while putting on their make up.

Contact lens wearers can benefit from this warning too. Most contact lens related abrasions occur while inserting or removing the contact lens when your own finger can scratch you. Also, it’s a good idea to inspect your contact lens for nicks, cracks or tears if it feels uncomfortable. Defects in the contact lens can cause corneal abrasion, too.

Chemical Burns

A chemical burn occurs when a household cleaner or industrial chemical comes in contact with your eye. A chemical burn can happen during a routine home cleaning or on the job. It’s essential to always wear protective goggles or a face shield when handling chemicals. Check your equipment if you are using a sprayer to apply chemicals, or if you are working with any sort of motor or engine. Bust pipes, hoses and tubes are a common source of chemical spray and splash.

If you get any sort of chemical in your eyes, immediately rinse with clean water if you don’t have sterile saline solution on hand. Sterile saline solution can be purchased in the contact lens care section of the pharmacy and it’s a good idea to have some on hand at home, kept near your first aid kit. Spend at least 15 minutes flushing the surface of the eye. After this, continue irrigating the ocular surface by applying artificial tears every minute or so until you can obtain medical attention. Let your eye doctor tell you when you should stop flushing. Some chemicals continue burning through layer after layer of tissue until they are completely flushed away.

Foreign Objects in the Eye

We’ve all felt that it’s very uncomfortable when an eyelash or dust goes into our eyes. When tiny particles, wood shavings or metal shavings from a workspace enter the eye, it can cause a similar discomfort. When this happens, it also runs the risk of infection.

At work, wearing protective eyewear can prevent various injuries, including small particles entering the eye. If something enters your eye, you can use the same strategy to flush it out as we described for chemical burns above.

Blunt Trauma

Blunt trauma happens when the eye is struck by an object, causing swelling, pain, and sometimes even fractures in the bones surrounding the eye. Always wear protective gear during high-risk activities like sports or construction work. For children, ensure toys with hard edges are used under supervision. Common sources of blunt trauma are projectiles like from a Nerf gun, or objects in sports like tennis, racket ball, and badminton. We’ve seen many eye injuries in recent years from pickleball. Wear your safety eyewear!

Penetrating or Cut Injuries

Sharp objects like glass or metal can pierce the eye, leading to severe damage and potential vision loss. Ensure that safety measures are taken during activities involving sharp objects. This includes wearing safety glasses or shields. Store sharp tools and objects securely. The most common source of this injury is from a stone or other object hurled at the operator of a weed trimmer. We’ve seen instances where the stone broke the eyeglass lens, and sent it’s sharp edges at the eye, causing a severe, sight-threatening laceration. Please, please wear CSA-approved safety glasses when operating a weed trimmer.

When Should You See a Doctor?

If you’ve sustained an eye injury, it’s essential to stay calm, keep the eye closed and do not remove anything from the eye. Wear sunglasses and go to the emergency room if you have light sensitivity.

You should visit an eye health professional if you’re experiencing:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Tired or heavy eyelids
  • Aching
  • Excess tears
  • Problems focusing
  • Frequent headaches
  • Muscle spasms of the eyelid or eye

Protect Your Eyes With Regular Eye Exams

Regular eye exams are one of the best ways to prevent eye injuries and ensure early detection. Doig Optometry in Calgary is dedicated to providing comprehensive eye exams, ensuring that your eyes remain in top shape. Prevention is always better than dealing with an injury, so stay aware, stay protected, and prioritize your eye health today.

If you’re dealing with eye discomfort, an eye exam is your best prevention of further injury. We provide compassionate and helpful care for all of our patients. We strive to create a comfortable and friendly atmosphere where patients can feel at ease because we understand that visiting the eye doctor can be intimidating and stressful, especially when you’re in pain. Book your appointment today.

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