First Aid for Eye Injuries
Eye injuries are among the most severe injuries you can have because sight is one of the primary senses humans have, and we rely so heavily on it to perform daily tasks such as reading and driving.

Unfortunately, eye injuries are among the most common types of injuries (especially in active people), so you should know how to treat them if you encounter someone hurt in an accident.

Luckily, first aid for eye injuries isn’t as complicated as it might seem, so here’s your step-by-step guide to treating this type of injury in the field.

First Aid for Eye Injuries: The Basic Things to Know
If you are ever faced with an emergency where someone has suffered an eye injury, you should know some basic things to provide the best care.

  • First, try to keep the person calm and still.
  • Second, do not allow the person to rub or touch their eye, as this could further damage the eye.
  • Third, if any foreign object is stuck in the eye, do not attempt to remove it yourself; instead, cover the eye with a clean cloth and seek professional medical help immediately.
  • Fourth, if the eye is bleeding, apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth to try and stop the bleeding.
  • Fifth, if the victim is wearing contact lenses, try to remove them if possible; however, do not force them out if they are stuck. Instead, leave them be until medical professionals can address the issue.

Lastly, ensure that no one drinks anything (including water) without first asking permission from a doctor to avoid accidental ingestion of harmful substances that may have been spilled into the eye.
Types of Eye Injuries: What Kind of Injury Did the Victim Get?
There are four main types of eye injuries: contusions, lacerations, punctures, and foreign bodies.

  • A contusion is a bruise of the eye and usually happens when something hits the eye.
  • A laceration is a cut of the eye and usually requires stitches. A puncture is a hole in the eye caused by a sharp object like a pencil or nail.
  • A foreign body is anything that’s not supposed to be in the eye, like dirt or sand. It could also be a small object, like a contact lens.

Foreign bodies often get stuck under the eyelid or in the conjunctiva (the thin membrane that covers the eyeball). Sometimes they can’t be seen with just one look; they may need to be removed with some type of suction device (called a speculum) or irrigation with saline solution.

Remember, all types of eye injuries require a medical evaluation. If you have further questions about caring for your eyes after an emergency, please contact your optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately.
  If Serious, Visit an Urgent Care Center!
If the victim suffers from a severe eye injury, take them to an urgent care center as soon as possible. While waiting for medical help, you can take the following steps to ensure their safety and comfort:

  1. Keep them calm and still
  2. Apply pressure to the affected area
  3. Do not allow them to rub or touch their eyes
  4. Flush the eyes with clean water for at least 15 minutes
  5. Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling
  6. Protect the eyes from further damage by covering them with a sterile gauze pad or cup.
  7. Use eyewash if available.
  8. Repeat these steps until they reach medical attention or the bleeding slows significantly.

Also, make sure they drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
First Aid for Eye Injuries Due to Chemical Splashes
If someone suffers a splash to the eye, move them away from the hazard to the eye wash station.


  • Flush the eye with water for at least 15 minutes.
  • If you can, hold the eyelid open while flushing. Remove any contact lenses and continue flushing.
  • If the chemical is oil-based, do not try to remove it with water. Instead, cover the eye with a clean cloth or bandage and seek medical attention immediately.

If you are unsure what kind of chemical was splashed in the eye, assume it is poisonous and seek medical attention immediately.
What to Do if a Foreign Object is Stuck in the Eye
If a foreign object is stuck in the eye, do not try to remove it. Instead, cover the eye with a clean cloth and secure it in place with tape or a bandage.

If the object is large or has penetrated the eye, seek medical help immediately. If the object is small and does not appear embedded in the eye, you can try flushing it out with water.
What to Do in Case of a Puncture or Contusion
If you are with someone with a puncture or contusion, it is crucial to act quickly and calmly. Here are the steps you should take:

  1. Check if any foreign object is stuck in the eye and remove them if possible.
  2. Apply pressure to the area around the injury to stop any bleeding.
  3. If there is swelling, apply a cold compress to the area.
  4. Have the victim sit with their head tilted back and their eyes closed.
  5. If they are wearing contact lenses, have them remove them if possible.
  6. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.

If you cannot get medical attention right away, continue to apply pressure and keep the victim calm until help arrives
Symptoms You Need to Visit a Doctor
Even after first aid for eye injuries, some situations may require a visit to the doctor. For example, seek medical attention immediately if any foreign object is stuck in the eye.

Other warning signs include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Discharge

These could be signs of a more severe problem. If you get hit in the eye and experience any trauma, go to the hospital emergency room immediately.

The doctors will check for bleeding, concussion, or fractures and ensure no damage to the eyeball.

Sometimes a person might not know they have something in their eye until they feel like something is pressing on it from inside.
What to Do in Case of a Blow to the Eye
Blows to the eye are some of the most common types of eye injuries. If you suspect someone has suffered a blow to the eye, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately.

If the victim is wearing contact lenses, try to remove them if possible. Rinse the eye with clean water and apply a cold compress.

first aid for eye injuries. An up-close look at the right with iris and lens injury.

Author credit: By Jmarchn – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Do not attempt to remove any foreign object stuck in the eye. If the victim is bleeding, apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth.
Keep the victim’s head elevated and do not allow them to rub their eyes. Stay calm and assess the situation until emergency responders arrive.
Mistakes to Avoid When Issuing First Aid for Eye Injuries
The human eye is very complex and requires special care. Here are some common mistakes that people make when issuing first aid for eye injuries:
1. Do not put a foreign body in the eye
2. Do not use rubbing alcohol or other disinfectants
3. Do not place anything foreign into the eye, such as cotton swabs or other objects
4. Avoid using your fingers to apply pressure to the eye
5. Do not squeeze your eyelids shut
6. Use sterile gauze instead of dry toilet paper, which can cause further damage.
Still, the best way to deal with eye injuries is to stop the injuries from happening in the first place. Read on to discover how to prevent them.
Tips to Prevent Eye Injuries
If you or someone you know has suffered an eye injury, it’s important to understand how to prevent injuries in the future and consider first aid certification.
Here are more tips to help protect your eyes:
1. Wear safety glasses when working around chemicals or dangerous equipment. For example, wear eye protection to keep splatters from hitting your face or skin if you’re painting your car.
2. Make sure the work area is well lit to see what you’re doing. If there is not enough light, use a flashlight to illuminate small spaces where you need extra light, such as inside the ceiling or walls where wires or pipes run close together.
3. Wear goggles when using power tools and other machinery that could cause eye injuries, such as saws and drills. You should also wear goggles whenever woodworking activities are involved because splinters can get into the eye
4. Do not play contact sports if you have eye injuries. The risk of losing sight in one or both eyes is too high.
Last Words on First Aid for Eye Injuries
The human eye is relatively elastic, but it’s not invincible! If an object hits your eye and doesn’t cause direct damage to your eyeball itself or the lens within it, there’s still a good chance that you will experience some discomfort and possible vision loss.
In addition to being painful and potentially disorienting for patients, injuries to the eyes can also lead to long-term complications like conjunctivitis (pink eye), which occurs when the thin layer of clear fluid between the eyelids and the cornea becomes infected.
It is often caused by bacteria or fungus growing on contact lenses or contact lens solutions that are not changed regularly enough.
If untreated, conjunctivitis may cause permanent vision loss.