The most common causes of eye injuries that we see are usually related to the use of power tools. Specifically, using grinders, especially when grinding metal, and weed eaters can cause a great deal of high-velocity debris to fly around, which can easily enter the eye.
When even the smallest bits of metal, dirt, sand, or other debris enter the eye, it can cause a corneal abrasion, which is essentially a scratch on the surface of the eye. If viewed under a microscope, corneal abrasions look akin to a skinned knee. These abrasions, or scratches, on the eye tend to heal very quickly on their own, usually within a day or two. In the meantime, symptoms may include:
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Feeling like something is stuck in the eye
However, there are complications that can evolve with corneal abrasions, namely scar tissue formation and infections. It’s always advised to have eye injuries or scratches assessed by an eye doctor to see what level of treatment would best guide the healing process.
What To Do
The best way to avoid eye injuries like corneal abrasions is to wear protective safety glasses when working with any type of power tool, or when doing activities that stir up debris like dirt, sand, or dust. If you do experience a scratched eye, though, here’s what you should—and should not—do:
- DO rinse your eye clean water or saline solution to flush any debris from your eye.
- DO blink to help get rid of small bits of debris in your eye.
- DO pull your upper eyelid over your lower eyelid. Your lower lashes may be able to brush away any debris caught underneath your upper lid.
- DO wear sunglasses if your eye is sensitive to light because of the scratch.
- DON’T rub your eye.
- DON’T touch your eye with anything, even your fingers.
- DON’T wear your contact lenses.
Your ophthalmologist may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointment or steroid eye drops to reduce inflammation and lessen the chance of scarring.
If you have an eye injury or suspect you have a corneal abrasion and you’re experiencing pain or discomfort, call East Tennessee Eye Surgeons for an assessment. We can usually work you in the same day you call, and it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the health of your eyes and your vision.
To schedule an eye injury assessment or a comprehensive eye exam, including a vision test, contact East Tennessee Eye Surgeons. With two locations at 7800 Conner Road in Powell and 744 Middle Creek Road, Suite 200 in Sevierville, East Tennessee Eye Surgeons delivers the highest quality eye care in an exceptional setting. Visit our website to learn more about us, or call us at 865-546-1464 (Powell) or 865-908-7008 (Sevierville).