Unfortunately the eye is prone to injury and this can be separated into minor or severe trauma.

Minor Traumas:

Corneal Abrasion

A scratch on the surface of the eye may cause a loss of the outer surface of the cornea called an abrasion. This is painful but can be easily treated and tends to heal very quickly within 24 hours. Common causes of injury are scratches / abrasions from fingernails, twigs or contact lenses.

Foreign Body

Specks of dust may become stuck under the eyelids causing irritation when blinking. Fragments from some power tools such as grinders may become lodged in the cornea. These need to be removed and antibiotic drops given to avoid infection in the eye. Sometimes foreign bodies in the cornea leave rust behind that needs to be cleaned off. Other foreign bodies can enter the eye and these must be thoroughly investigated and treated.

Severe Trauma

The eye is delicate and does not cope with injury well. There are four main types of severe trauma to the eye

Intraocular Foreign Body

Something has entered the eye (e.g. a tiny piece of metal from someone hammering and chiselling or from fireworks or air gun pellets). These can cause damage to the internal structures of the eye and infection.

Wearing protective goggles during any sort of activity using power tools, metal tools involving hammering, strimmers, rotating blades is absolutely essential to avoid this complication.

Penetrating Injury

Sharp objects can injury the eye and lacerate the outer surface of the eye. Often these occur in assault, road traffic accidents or childhood accidents. Surgery will be required to try to repair the eye.

Contusion Injury

Sometimes the eye is hit by an object but the eye stays intact. Unfortunately, there may still be a severe degree of injury. This is commonly caused by assault of an individual but is also seen in a variety of sports. Squash and badminton are particularly likely to result in injury because of the close proximity of the players. The wearing of protective goggles is advised.

Scleral Rupture

Sometimes the eye is hit by an object but the eye stays intact and the outer layer of the eye is bursts. This is a severe injury and will need surgery to try to redeem the situation.


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