PREVENTING EYE INJURIES

Any activity where something is flying at the eye puts the eye at risk for an injury. Over one million people suffer eye injuries each year in the United States. Almost 50% of these accidents occur at home and over 90% of them could have been prevented.

Minor injuries to the cornea-the clear, protective covering over the front of the eye-can be quite painful. A corneal abrasion is a scratch. Appropriate treatment may include an antibiotic drop or ointment and an eye patch for comfort. Sand or other particles can stick to the cornea. Such foreign bodies may be removed with a moistened Q-tip, usually by a doctor. Do not rub the eye.

Regular prescription glasses or contact do not protect eyes from injury. Some glasses and some types of contact lenses shatter if the eye is hit. People who play sports and wear prescription glasses can have special glasses or prescription goggles made.

Unfortunately, many people do not think they are at risk for an eye injury until the injury occurs. The majority of eye injuries are easily prevented.

Follow safety precautions and use common sense to reduce the risk

When an eye injury does occur, have an ophthalmologist (eye physician and surgeon), or other medical doctor examine the eye as soon as possible. Although the injury may not look or feel serious, it could cause serious damage to your eyes. If you have blurred vision, partial loss of vision, double vision, or sharp pains in your eye after an accident, see an ophthalmologist or go to a hospital emergency room right away.