These first aid measures are the practices undertaken by an individual at the site of the accident till such time the trained medical professionals arrive or else till the patient was brought to an emergency unit. Therefore, what is expected from first aid measures for eye injuries would be to prevent further exposure to the injurious agent and avoid doing harm in trying to support the patient.
In eye injuries, the thing to remember would be that, instrumental manipulation by an untrained and non medical person is not advisable. This is due to the delicate nature of the tissues in the eye which can get damaged if it is not handled properly. Thus, first aid measures only makes use of simple non invasive measures as first aid, although it is a major stake holder between recovery and permanent blindness.
The accidental injuries to the eye would be of two major categories, 1. Injuries caused by foreign bodies, 2. Injuries caused by chemical irritants.
In injuries caused by foreign bodies, following first aid measures can be applied.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before handling the eye.
- Look to see by gently pulling the eye lids for any visible presence of foreign bodies.
- Try gently pulling the upper lid over the lower lid and blinking the eye several times which will make the lower eye lid capture any foreign bodies that were present or else allow the natural tearing to wash away such objects.
- If a foreign body is visible, make use of a soft and a clean wet cotton cloth and gently wipe off the visible foreign object from the eye surface. If this fails, do not attempt further and allow a professional to handle its removal.
In instances where the injury is due to chemical irritants, following measures can be taken.
- Calm down the patient and avoid them trying to touch or press the eyes.
- If there are any contact lenses, remove them as soon as possible due to the presence of chemicals between the surface of the contact lens and the cornea of the eye.
- Wash the affected eye with cool water for at least 15 minutes with both eyelids wide apart and turning the globe of the eye to wash off any chemicals on its surface.
- Do not apply a pressurized water flow or hot water to the eye and do not rub at the time of washing the eye.
Call the emergency number as soon as possible and allow the medical teams to take over the management of the patient.