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 Emergency & First Aid: Eye Injuries: First Aid for Eye Injuries - Emergency Conditions 
American Institute for Preventive Medicine ©

Eye Injuries & Irritation

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and symptoms depend on the cause. Common symptoms are:

  • Pain and/or swelling in or around the eye(s).
  • The eyes burn, are dry, and/or itch.

  • Causes

    For Eye Injuries:

  • A physical blow to the eye.
  • Harsh chemicals.
  • A foreign body is stuck in the eye.

  • For Eye Irritation:

  • Particles in the eye.
  • Too much sun exposure.
  • Low humidity.
  • Strong wind.
  • Scratches from contact lenses.

  • Other causes are allergies, infections, and conditions that make the eyes dry. With aging, the eyes can get irritated more easily because they make less tears.


    Mild eye irritations and injuries can be treated with self-care. More serious problems need medical care.

    Eye goggles help protect the eyes from harm chemicals.

    Questions to Ask

    Do any of these problems occur?

  • A foreign body is stuck in the eye.
  • One or both eyes were exposed to acid, alkali, or any harmful chemicals.
  • (Note: Give first aid for the problem as needed. See below)

    Did super glue get in the eye(s)? {Note: Before emergency care, do not try to pry the eye(s) open. Rinse the eyes with warm tap water for 20 to 30 minutes.}

    Do any of these problems occur?

  • A severe blow to the eye with or without a broken bone of the face.
  • Vision loss, blurred vision, double vision, or blood in the pupil after an eye injury.
  • A cut to the eye or eyelid.
  • Signs of a severe allergic reaction after a bite or sting to the eye. {Note: Before immediate care, use emergency kit as directed.}
  • (Note: Give first aid for the problem as needed. See below)

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