A scratched eye can be painful and irritating. It may also cause long-term damage if not treated. If you can’t get it treated by an eye doctor immediately, here’s a quick guide on what you should do while waiting for treatment.
What Causes a Scratched Eye?
The eyes are sensitive and can be scratched by virtually any foreign object or substance. The following are some of the most common causes:
- Small particles: Dust and dirt can easily get into the eye, regardless of location. There’s a great risk of shavings from wood or metal getting into the eyes in industrial settings.
- Airborne plant matter: This includes pollen and dandelion seeds, and is more common during the spring season.
- Animals: Pets may strike out and accidentally scratch the eyes.
- Outdoor activities: Engaging in sports and other high-risk physical activities can increase the risk of the eyes getting injured.
- Incorrect contact lenses: Poor-fitting or dirty contact lenses can introduce foreign particles between them and the eye surface, which may result in scratches.
What You Should Do if Your Eyes Get Scratched
If you are experiencing symptoms of a scratched eye, which may include pain, tearing and a persistent feeling of something getting stuck in the eye, contact your eye doctor or go to an emergency room as soon as possible. Do the following if immediate treatment isn’t possible:
- Use saline solution to rinse your eyes. Saline solution is a mixture of sodium chloride (salt) and water. It’s typically used as an intravenous treatment for dehydration, contact lens storage and wound treatment. To use it as an eye wash, fill an eyecup with it, and use as instructed. Alternatively, you can use a small clean drinking glass. Rest the rim of the glass on the base of the eye socket, and let the affected eye soak in the fluid for a few seconds.
- Blink several times. Blinking can help push small particles from the eye surface towards the eye lashes, where it can be swabbed off.
- Pull the upper eyelid over the lower eyelid. Doing this forces the eyelashes from the lower lid to brush away foreign objects caught in the upper eyelid. Make sure to clean your hands before touching your eyes.
Guilford Eye Center provides eye care services to customers in High Point, NC, and the surrounding communities. Give us a call at (336) 292-4516, or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.