Eye trauma is damage that occurs to any of the eye’s structures or the surrounding tissues, including the eye sockets. It can occur from something as small as a speck of dirt trapped under the eyelid or a head blow in a car accident. In addition, it can happen whether your eyes are open or closed. Trauma is one of the leading causes of vision loss, so it’s important to learn the signs that your injury needs medical care.
At Retina Specialists, our team of board-certified ophthalmologists has the experience and expertise to diagnose and treat all types of eye trauma, and because trauma can produce both immediate and delayed effects, they want their patients to recognize the signs that indicate they need care. It can help preserve their vision.
Common causes of eye injuries, and signs you need medical care
Some of the most common causes of eye injury or trauma include:
Corneal abrasion (scratched eye)
The cornea is the clear membrane that covers the eye’s surface. Abrasions can come from scratching the eye with your fingernail, getting poked in the eye, or rubbing the eye when there’s a foreign body, like a sand grain, present. These scratches are 1) painful and 2) cause a severe sensitivity to light.
Abrasions can make your eye susceptible to bacterial or fungal infection, which can cause serious harm — even blindness — in as little as 24 hours. That’s why it’s important to get medical attention.
Penetrating or foreign objects
If 3) something has penetrated your eye, like a splinter or piece of metal, don’t try to remove it — you could cause even more injury.
It’s possible that you also have corneal foreign bodies, small, sharp pieces of metal that are embedded in the cornea but haven’t yet penetrated into the eye’s interior. Metal can quickly form a rust ring and cause significant scarring, so it’s imperative that a doctor remove the pieces as soon as possible.
Loosely tape an eye shield over the eye, then come into the office.
With a blow to the face, say with a ball or someone’s hand, your eye may become 4) swollen and puffy.
Start by applying an icepack. It may be nothing more than a black eye (bruising), but you can’t be sure. Make an appointment with our office within 24 hours so a doctor can determine if there’s any internal damage.
This inflammation of the iris (colored part) surrounding the pupil occurs after an eye injury caused by a jab to the eye or a blow from a blunt object. It may be accompanied by a 5) visibly distorted iris or pupil. You should absolutely take this seriously, because even with treatment, there’s a risk of permanent vision loss.
The retina is the area at the back of the eye that translates incoming light into electrical signals that it sends via the optic nerve to the brain. The retina can tear or detach from its moorings with a severe blow to the head, from something like a fistfight, a car accident, or a sports accident. You may initially notice a lot of 6) visual floaters or flashes, which can be followed by 7) blurred vision and/or 8) a sudden loss of sight. This is a medical emergency, as any sight lost can’t be regained.
If you’ve sustained an eye injury, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to medical treatment. The ophthalmologists at Retina Specialists can determine the best way to treat the problem while saving as much of your sight as possible. Call us at any of our five Texas offices — Dallas, DeSoto, Plano, Mesquite, and Waxahachie — or book online with us today.