Eye Injury 

Introduction
The eye can be injured quite easily.  Trauma may result from cuts, scratches, penetration, debris, light, chemicals, and blunt forces.  Except for the most trivial injuries, eye trauma needs immediate professional evaluation and treatment.  Untreated eye trauma may lead to infection, further injury, or vision loss.  You may prevent eye trauma by wearing safety glasses, sunglasses, and protective sports gear.

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Anatomy
Your eyes and brain work together with amazing precision to produce 3D pictures of your environment.  Light rays enter the front of your eye and are interpreted by your brain as images.  Light rays first enter your eye through the cornea, a clear dome that helps your eyes focus.

The anterior chamber is located behind the cornea and in front of the iris.  The anterior chamber is filled with a fluid that maintains eye pressure, nourishes the eye, and keeps it healthy.  The iris is the colored part of your eye.  The pupil is the black circle in the center of your iris.  It changes size to allow more or less light to enter your eye.

After light comes through the pupil, it enters the lens.  The lens is a clear curved disc.  Muscles adjust the curve in the lens to focus clear images on the retina.  The retina is located at the back of your eye.

Your inner eye, or the space between the posterior chamber behind the lens and the retina is the vitreous body.  It is filled with a clear gel substance that gives the eye its shape.  Light rays pass through the gel on their way from the lens to the retina.  Receptors in your retina transmit nerve signals to your brain, where you process and perceive vision.

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Causes
The eye can be injured quite easily.  Eye trauma can result from cuts, scratches, penetration, debris, light, chemicals, and blunt forces.  Untreated trauma may cause further injury and lead to vision loss.  It is vital to receive immediate medical treatment for eye trauma.

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Symptoms
Depending on the cause, eye trauma can cause a variety of symptoms.  You may experience decreased vision, loss of vision, or double vision.  You may have eye pain, redness, bleeding, stinging, or burning.  Your eye may be sensitive to light.  It may feel like something is in your eye.  Your pupils may be of unequal size.  You may develop a headache, bruising, and eyelid swelling.

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Treatment
First Aid and Treatment

All but the most trivial eye trauma needs immediate first aid, if applicable, and emergency medical treatment.  Following emergency medical treatment, follow-up appointments with your doctor are important for monitoring your healing process.  Below are listed some common types of eye trauma:

Blunt Trauma: Baseballs, Fist Fighting, Rocks, Snowballs
Contact your doctor or proceed to the emergency department of a hospital.  You should not apply ice or other types of treatment without speaking to your doctor first.  Blunt trauma may cause a variety of inner eye injuries and requires prompt evaluation from a professional.
 
Burns: Flames, Explosions, Curling Irons, Hot Objects, Cigarettes
You should not attempt to remove particles or debris from your eye.  Contact your doctor immediately or proceed to the emergency department of a hospital for professional treatment.

Chemical Injuries: Household or Industrial Chemicals
Chemical injuries vary from minor to blinding, depending on the chemical that contacted the eye.  You should immediately flush the eye with water—use a sink, shower, or drinking fountain—whatever source of water is nearby.  Flush the eye with water for 15 minutes.  You should contact your doctor immediately or proceed to the emergency department of a hospital.

Radiant Energy Injuries: Strong Bright Light, Sunlamps, Welding, Electric Flash, Lasers, Eclipses
Artificial tears may help relieve burning, but you should contact your doctor immediately or proceed to the emergency department of a hospital.

Sharp Injuries: Penetration Injuries from Knives, Pointed Objects, Finger Nails, Animal Bites
You should not attempt to remove an object from the eye by yourself.  This may result in further injury.  Contact your doctor immediately or proceed to the emergency room of a hospital for emergency medical treatment.

Small Object in the Eye: Debris; Metal, Wood, Plastic, or Glass Fragments
You should not try to remove objects from the eye by yourself.  This may result in further injury.  Contact your doctor or go to the emergency department of a hospital to have the object professionally removed.

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.