An eye injury is a physical or chemical injury that directly affects a person's eye. If it is not immediately treated, it can become a serious threat to the person's vision. They are usually accompanied by redness and pain to the eye. However, it is possible for these symptoms not to appear, as some parts of the ocular system lack nerves.
As soon as a patient turns in to a medic seeking advice in a possible eye injury, a normal eye examination should be immediately performed, maybe using a topical eye anesthetic. The doctor should check for any external affections of the eye, checking for any kind of perforations, hyphemia or other such conditions. Certain hints exist; for example, a teardrop-shaped pupil suggests a perforation of the cornea. Depending on the examination and the patient's medical history, the doctor will then decide upon the emergency of the condition:
- Emergency conditions: such conditions must be treated immediately, within minutes. Such conditions are, for example, chemical burns of the cornea.
- Urgent conditions: such conditions should be treated in a matter of hours. They are often penetrating injuries, like corneal abrasions.
- Semi-urgent conditions: these can be managed in a matter of days. Subconjunctival hemorrhages are common semi-urgent conditions.
There are a number of common measures that must be taken, which include:
- Patching. Many conditions, like corneal abrasions, require a pressure patch to be applied, so that the patient cannot open the affected eye. Pressure patches should not be applied if the globe is penetrated.
- Irrigation. This is one of the first actions that should be performed in the case of chemical injuries. Isotonic saline or sterile water should be used. Under no circumstance should the solution be buffered, it simply has to be diluted.
- Suturing. Sutures should be performed in some cases, for example in an eyelid laceration, as long as the laceration does not pose any threat to the canaliculi, does not affect the margins of the lid or is not too deep.