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The two most common causes for an eye injury are sports and housework. No, you don’t necessarily have to wear sunglasses around the house when doing chores to protect your eyes; though you would be cooler if you did. But wearing protective eyewear in the yard is highly recommended. You may not notice symptoms right away when you get a scratch. It may take hours for symptoms to start.
Symptoms of an Eye Scratch
You could see a bit of blood, a line that is a noticeably scratched, or general redness on the white part of your eye known as sclera. The scratch may just be on the top layer called the conjunctiva.
Common symptoms include:
- Eye pain
- A feeling that something is stuck in your eye
A scrape on the cornea, the part of the eye that covers the pupil, may cause a scar which can permanently affect your vision. These corneal abrasion symptoms may include:
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
How to Treat a Scratched Eye
See your ophthalmologist if you scratch your eye. If you are in a lot of pain, are having any trouble seeing or are worried about your eye, go to the emergency room. Your ophthalmologist may treat an eye scratch with antibiotic eye drops or ointment. You may be given prescription steroid eye drops to reduce inflammation and reduce the chance of scarring. You may also be given lubricating eye drops to make you more comfortable.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology here are some thing you should and should not do if you scratch your eye:
- DO rinse your eye with saline solution or clean water. If you don’t have an eyecup, use a small, clean glass. Rest the rim of the glass on the bone at the base of your eye socket, below your lower eyelid. The water or saline solution may flush the foreign object from your eye.
- DO blink. Blinking can help get rid of small bits of dust or sand in your eye.
- DO pull your upper eyelid over your lower eyelid. The lashes from your lower eyelid may be able to brush away any foreign object caught underneath your upper eye lid.
- DO wear sunglasses. If your eye is sensitive to light because of the scratch, sunglasses will make you more comfortable while you heal.
- DON’T rub your eye. Rubbing your eye can make the scratch worse.
- DON’T touch your eye with anything. Fingers, cotton swabs and other objects will not help remove any foreign objects and could hurt your eye more. The object that caused the scratch may be gone even though you still feel like something is in your eye.
- DON’T wear your contact lenses. Wearing your contact lenses will slow the healing process and could cause complications, like contact lens-related infections.
- DON’T use redness-relieving eye drops. Over-the-counter redness-reducing eye drops can be painful if you have an eye scratch and they will not help you heal any faster.
The most important thing to remember to do if you scratch your eye is to call your Ophthalmologists’ clinic. Something simple can easily lead to terrible outcomes that permanently affect your vision long term. The best way to prevent this is to wear eye protection when appropriate. Sunglasses are cool inside too. Call it fashion healthcare.