Knowing first aid for your eyes is very important. An eye injury from household chemical splashes, welders flash, abrasion from a child’s finger etc. can occur at anytime. By acting quickly and applying the correct first aid techniques, you can prevent serious damage.

Superficial foreign bodies eg. fly in the eye, sand etc. can generally be washed out with natural tear flow, by lifting the upper eyelid and pulling it over the top of the lower lashes. Constant irrigation with water, ideally from an eye wash bottle can be used if this fails. If the foreign body penetrates the eye itself, you should immediately go to hospital, being careful not to rub the eye or apply any pressure to it.

If you have any accidental spray from chemical agents, e.g. bleach, weedkiller etc. immediately flush with cool water for a minimum of 15

minutes and go to casualty, whilst constantly irrigating and carefully removing any contact lenses.

Welders flash or ‘arc eye’ comes from the intense overexposure of the welding machines UV light. Symptoms include severe headache, gritty eyes, oversensitivity to light and sometimes black spots are reported in the central vision. Should this happen, darken the room, lightly pad both eyes and report for medical opinion.

In all these cases it’s important to act promptly and with common sense, seeking medical opinion if there’s any degree of severity, preventing long term damage which could have been avoided.

Noel McCrystal
BSc.(Hons.)MCOptom.Dip.Sc.V MASv.P

Download Article PDF