The most common injury to the eye is getting a piece of grit or an eyelash lodged in it. Contact lenses can also get displaced or stuck to the eyeball. If you have any trouble removing a contact lens, get medical help rather than risk hurting the eye.
Removing grit from the eye
1. Tell the person not to rub the eye. Turn the face up to the light and gently draw the eyelids away from the eyeball – first the top, then the bottom. Ask the person to look up, down, left and right while you look for the grit.
2. If you can see it, try to wash it out. Tilt the head to the injured side and run cold or lukewarm water over the eye from a tap or jug. Or get the person to blink her eyes underwater.
3. If this doesn’t work, try to lift off the grit with a moistened corner of a clean handkerchief.
If you’re still unsuccessful, see a doctor.
DO NOT try to remove anything that is on the black or the coloured parts of the eye, or that is sticking firmly to the eye. Cover the eye with a clean, folded handkerchief and bandage it loosely in place. Then take the person to their doctor, or to the Accident and Emergency Department of the local hospital.
Getting to the underside of the upper eyelid
1. If the piece of grit is lodged on the underside of the eyelid, press a matchstick gently on top of the lid and then draw the lid up over the match by pulling up the eyelashes.
2. Remove the piece of grit with the moistened corner of a clean handkerchief. Replace the lid by pulling down gently on the lashes. You can treat the bottom lid in the same way.
Chemical burns to the eye
If chemicals – either liquid or solid – get into the eye, flood it with water immediately. Chemicals can cause serious damage.
You may need to force the eyelids open if they are shut tight in a spasm of pain.
1.Tilt the person’s head, with the injured eye down. Flood the open eye with gently running water from a tap or jug for at least ten minutes.
2. Dry the eye and put a clean dressing lightly over it. Get the person to the Accident and Emergency Department of your local hospital immediately.
Sharp object in the eye
Do not try to remove anything, such as a sliver of flying glass, which has become embedded in the eye. You could cause severe damage.
Telephone 999 and ask for an ambulance.
While you are waiting, protect the eye by covering it with a paper or plastic cup and taping or bandaging it on. Put a bandage over both eyes so that the injured person is not tempted to move them. Reassure the person while you wait for the ambulance to arrive.