What to do if you have something extra in your eye or major eye pain ?
Foreign bodies and eye injuries are a common presentation in our clinics. A significant amount of patients present with a piece of grit or dirt in their eyes. This is sometimes the result of DIY tools such as grinders or drills being used without sufficient care and or eye protection. At other times patients present after gardening with plant or other organing matter in the eyes. Falls can also result in an eye injury such as a cut eye brown or a black eye. Road traffic accidents can result in a very sudden deceleration of the body and eyes. A sudden shock can damage both the front and the inside of an eye.
A sub conjuctival haemorrhage can occur after a fall:
the above image shows a subconjuctival haemorrhage which can have many causes including injury. Falling over causes a sudden decelleration of the head and eye, this can be sufficient to tear or break a blood vessel at the front of the eye. this broken blood vessel then leaks blood behind the conjunctiva. The space between the conjunctiva and the white sclera of the eye is very narrow, so a small amount of blood can show as an impressive red eye.
However most of these red eyes are not significant, and after an examination with a slit lamp microscope the patient can usually be reassured. Other causes can be a sneeze or health issues which may require the use of blood thinners.
Sub conjuctival heamorrhages clear up after a week or two, changing from red to purple to yellow as they resolve, just like a bruize under the skin.
A small foreign body embedded in the peripheral cornea:
The above image shows a small foreign body embedded in the peripheral cornea causing a corneal injury. The cornea is the transparent window of the eye and covers the colored iris behind it. You can see the foreign body on the left hand side of the image near the interface of the cornea and the white sclera, this area is called the limbus. The sclera is a little red and the overlying conjuctiva is somewhate injected too due to the irritation caused by the foreign body. A foreign body is easily removed by a MECS Optometrist provided the item is superficial. We would use a microscope to view the area in detail and lift the item off the cornea. The eye would be anaesthetized with a topical eye drop first.
Retinal tears and breaks:
The above image shows an Optos image of an injured eye resulting in a retinal tear. After trauma to the head or eye the retina can be injured and a tear or hole can occur. This can happen as a result of a car accident and the deployment of the airbag. Some sports such as kickboxing or other contact sports such as footbal can cause enough injury to the eye to result in a retinal break. Other retinal breaks can occur due to injury from a penetrating foreign body from a drill bit or cutting disc.
Reducing the incidence of eye injuries:
To reduce the chance of eye injury as a result ofa foreign body, make sure you have a suitable pair of safety glassess on hand if you are going to do any kind of power tool work. Power tools such as disc cutters, grinders, drills and welding equipment are more likely to result in an eye injury if safety glassess are not worn. You can buy box safety goggles to sit over prescription glasses, or basic non prescription wrap safety spectacles. Your employer can issue further safety spectacle advise depending on the type of tasks you are employed to do. Furthermore your employer can issue a form that specifies the risk catagories and pay for prescription safety glasses specifically used at work. Prescription safety glasses can be made in a bifocal form or only just for near vision computer use.