Foreign bodies in the eye – that helps!

Foreign bodies in the eye - that helps!

A grain of dust can quickly get into the eye, which is usually flushed out again by itself. It is more dangerous if a tennis ball hits the eye or sawdust gets into the eye while gardening. Slight, superficial eye injuries and irritations are relatively common and can often be treated by yourself. In case of doubt and severe injuries to the eye, however, an ophthalmologist is essential.

Which influences can damage the eye?

  • Mechanical impacts (foreign bodies, impacts)
  •  Almost 90% of all eye accidents are caused by mechanical impacts. Solid objects of different sizes can hit and penetrate the eye. Dust causes irritation and inflammation. Sports accidents, e.g. Eye injuries such as a squash ball hitting the eye with full force, are among the eye injuries that are on the rise. The consequences of a blunt force impact on the eye are internal injuries, e.g. B. Damage to the inside of the eye or the bones of the eye socket. Therefore, always consult an ophthalmologist in such accidents. Even with DIY work, housework or gardening, chopping or sawing things can quickly catch your eye.
  • Radiation (UV or laser radiation)
  •  Laser beams can destroy tissue. The retina of the eye is particularly at risk. This process is not very painful, so the damage is noticed after some time. Serious eye injuries can also occur during welding or metal work if the unprotected eye looks into the welding flame.
  • Chemicals and hazardous substances such as B. Acids, bases or solvents
  •  Did you know that a splash of a corrosive product can cause loss of sight? Industry often uses corrosive substances (acids, alkalis, irritating solvents). These substances have a pronounced eye-damaging effect. There are also dangers in the household: drain cleaners usually contain strong alkalis and should be handled according to the instructions for use. Spray bottles and aerosol cans also pose a risk to the eyes, as it is easy to mistake the direction in which they spray.
  • Thermal effects (heat, cold, IR radiation)
  •  Heat can affect the eye through contact, gases or thermal radiation. As a result, the eyes can dry out and become irritated. Cold, e.g. B. in cold stores or at extreme temperatures outdoors, can lead to frostbite.


First-aid measures

Tiny foreign objects can quickly get into the eye and cause pain and visual disturbances, which usually go away quickly. The reason is that the tear fluid flushes out the foreign bodies. To remove small objects, pull the eyelid down and wipe toward the inner corner of the eye with your hand or a soft cloth. Then, it can be rinsed with water.

In case of chemical burns, rinse with clear water for at least 15 minutes, holding the eyelids wide apart. In accidents involving acids, alkalis and solvents, even a few splashes or drops can cause severe, permanent damage. Corrosion of the cornea starts immediately after contact. That’s why the first few seconds are crucial. Call for an ambulance while you are still rinsing your eyes!

For severe injuries, apply a sterile compress and see a doctor immediately.

If in doubt, you better see a doctor.

The eye is not an organ to treat yourself. If additional symptoms appear or complaints do not subside after a supposedly harmless injury, the ophthalmologist should always be consulted.

Examples of this are:

  • Redness, tears, photophobia
  • Foreign body sensation that persists after half a day
  • Vision problems that last more than an hour
  • Pain that gets progressively worse

You must go to the doctor for all burns if a foreign body is in the eye, such as chemical burns with acids, alkalis, or chemicals or dull violence to the eye, e.g., B. by a snowball. In addition, in the case of chemical burns with food such. B. Lemon juice if discomfort persists after thorough rinsing.


Prevention – protect your eyes

Safety goggles offer protection against splashes, wood chips or sharp objects for dangerous work in the household or garden. Sunglasses with suitable lenses help against intense sunlight. Wearers of glasses who do sports should decide to use sports glasses. The industry has a professional association rule, “Use of eye and face protection” (DGUV Rule 112-192), for selecting suitable eye and face protection. Otherwise, the instructions for the use of solvents, cleaning agents, etc., must be observed.

Don’t forget:  you often unknowingly touch your face and eyes with dirty hands. Therefore, toxic or sharp substances should always be washed off your hands quickly. It is best to wear gloves. They protect the skin and prevent careless smudging of the eyes with the hands.


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