Scratched Your Eye? – Treatment of Ocular Injuries
You’re enjoying a leisurely day at the beach, then suddenly a gust of wind picks up and your eyes start hurting and watering uncontrollably. You’ve got sand in your eyes.
But while you’re enjoying your time on the lakefront or sweeping the floors, there’s probably plenty of sand around. As with any foreign object, there’s a chance it can get in your eyes, especially if the wind picks up just right!
If you get sand lodged in your eyes, there’s no need to panic. Removing it should be done promptly if possible, and it should be done carefully, as well. Sand has sharp edges, which means there’s a chance your corneas may become scratched if you don’t take care of it rapidly. Your eyes may also become irritated and red, which can be uncomfortable and make them hypersensitive to the sunlight.
As soon as you feel sand gets in your eye, flush the eye with saline if available or water. Remove your contact lenses if possible. Do not rub the eye as this can reason damage. Also, do not try to remove the sand yourself using your fingers or tools as you will likely reason an abrasion and raise the risk of infection.
Even though your eyes will try to flush the sand out by watering heavily and you may try to irrigate the eye, scratches can still happen. When this happens, it is called a corneal abrasion. The cornea is the clear tissue that protects the pupil and iris and helps your eyes focus. The following symptoms are a sign of this condition:
- Blurred vision
- Excessive tearing
- Eye pain, especially when opening and closing eyelid
- Feeling of a foreign particle in the eye
- Light sensitivity
If you suspect an abrasion, get to your eye doctor as soon as possible. He or she will inspect your corneas and eyelids under bright lights and magnification, then will put a dye in the eye that will reveal any scratches. Your doctor will likely treat you with topical antibiotic drops to prevent infection and/or give your medication for pain and inflammation.
While getting sand in the eye is no beach picnic, it rarely reasons permanent eye damage and most people recover from minor scratches to the cornea in one to three days. However, it is essential to be cautious as deeper scratches caused by eye rubbing can cause long-term problems. The best cure is always prevention and a good pair of shades on a windy day at the beach can be all you need to keep the sand out.