Most often caused by sports or other physical activity, eye injuries can be serious and are usually very painful. They are a common cause of vision loss in children. Eye injuries can range from corneal abrasions and chemical burns to bruising and retaining foreign bodies in the eye.

Males make up three-quarters of reported eye injuries. About one-half of eye injuries occur in the home.

All injury to your child’s eye should be considered a medical emergency, and immediate medical care is necessary.

Eye Diagram
Eye Diagram - Click for larger view

Causes of eye injuries:

Eye injuries from sports: hockey, darts, archery, BB guns, bicycling, sports that involve rackets, baseball, boxing, basketball

Other common causes of eye injuries include: chemicals, toys, fingernails

Types of eye injuries: Corneal Abrasions, Chemical Burns, Hyphema, Fractures of the Orbit, Foreign Bodies

Corneal Abrasions: is a scratch or injury to the cornea of the eye, the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye. Very common occurrence in children. There are many things that can cause an abrasion to the cornea. When these objects make contact with the surface of the eye, a small abrasion can occur. Common causes include: foreign bodies in the eye (such as dirt, pebbles, insects) and a scratch from a toy or fingernail.

Chemical burns: occur when your child gets any type of chemical like a household cleaning agent in his or her eye. This is a medical emergency and your child should receive immediate medical care. Chemical burns can result in a loss of vision and even a loss of the eye itself, if not treated promptly and accurately.

Hyphema: refers to blood in the anterior chamber of the eye. This is a medical emergency. The anterior chamber is the front section of the eye’s interior where fluid flows in and out and provides nourishment to the eye and surrounding tissues. A hyphema is usually caused by an injury to the eye, and blood is seen in the eyeball.

Bruising or Black Eye (Ecchymosis): more commonly known as a “black eye,” usually occurs from some type of injury to the eye, causing the tissue around the eye to become bruised. Your child’s physician will examine the eye closely to make sure there is no damage to the actual eye itself.

Fractures of the orbit: the bony structure around the eye is the orbit. When one or more bones surrounding the eye are broken, the condition is called orbital fracture. An orbital fracture usually occurs after some type of injury like a strike to the face. Depending on where the fracture is located, it can be associated with severe eye injury and damage.

Eyelid lacerations: are cuts to the eyelid caused by injury. Your child’s physician will examine the eye closely to make sure there is no damage to the eye itself. An ophthalmologist may also examine your child for further evaluation of the eye.

Symptoms of eye injuries:

Blood in the eyeball, changes in the shape of the iris or pupil, eye pain, and the absence of obvious symptoms


Safety eyewear at home or outside. Wash your hands after using household
chemicals; Wear chemical safety goggles when using hazardous solvents and detergents, and don’t mix cleaning agents around or near your child. Turn spray nozzles away from your face and the faces of others. Read and follow directions when opening bottle tops (such as wine or carbonated beverages). Read and follow directions when playing games and operating equipment. Provide lights and handrails to improve safety on stairs. Keep paints, pesticides and fertilizers stored in a secure area. Make sure you and your child wear recommended protective goggles, helmets and safety gear during the appropriate activities.Use guards on all
power equipment. Protect your eyes from the sun, either by wearing a wind-brimmed hat or ultraviolet (UV)-protective sunglasses. Never look directly at the sun, especially during an eclipse.

At play:

Wear recommended protective eyewear during the appropriate sports and recreational activities.

Cosmetics and my Childs eye

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, cosmetics are among some of the most common sources of problems for contact lens wearers. Misusing cosmetics can lead to severe adverse reactions: deposits on the lens, eye irritation, allergy, injury, infection and dryness.

Make sure your teen abides by the following guidelines for safe cosmetics use:

Choose non-scented, hypoallergenic cosmetics manufactured by a well-known, trusted brand name.

Wash your hands before inserting or removing your contact lenses.

Apply make-up after inserting the contact lenses.

Don’t borrow cosmetics or lend your cosmetics to others.

Wash all make-up application brushes frequently.

Don’t purchase mascara refills in which you insert your old applicator.

Avoid frosted, pearlized, iridescent or other glittery types of eye shadow, which may contain ground oyster shells or tinsel.

Don’t apply eyeliner to the inner edge of the lid or above the lash line on the lower lid.

Avoid using loose powder on the face.

Don’t apply creams too close to the eyes.

Never apply eye makeup while in motion or while driving.

Don’t use water or saliva to lubricate an applicator or thin cosmetics.

Don’t apply cosmetics if your eyes are red, swollen or infected. If symptoms persist, an ophthalmologist should be called.

Computer uses can cause eye strain

Eye strain may be attributed to prolonged computer screen viewing. Children may experience different symptoms, but the most common symptoms of eye strain are red, watery, irritated eyes, tired, aching or heavy eyelids, problems with focusing, muscle spasms of the eye or eye lid, headache and backache.

Avoid Eye strain from Computer use by following the below directions:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends the following workstation modifications to help avoid eye strain:

Position the monitor or screen slightly further away than where you normally hold reading material.

Position the top of the screen at or slightly below eye level.

Place all reference material as close to the screen as possible to minimize head and eye movements and focusing changes.

Minimize lighting reflections and glare.

Keep the screen clean and dust-free.

Schedule periodic rest breaks to avoid eye fatigue.

Keep the eyes lubricated (by blinking) to prevent them from drying out.

Keep the screen in proper focus.You may also want to consult your child’s ophthalmologist, as some individuals who don’t normally need glasses may need corrective lenses for computer work.

Eye injury Diagnosis

Some eye injuries go undetected because no symptoms are present. A physician can usually locate foreign matter in the eye by examining it with a magnifying glass under good light. If no foreign matter is present, your child’s eyes and surrounding area will be examined to determine the presence and possible seriousness of an injury. During the examination, anesthetic eye drops may be administered to lessen eye pain. To help locate scratches and other small injuries, the eye is stained with an orange dye called fluorescein. This dye appears bright yellow under a blue examining light; with it, highlighted scratches and scrapes on the eye can be detected. More serious eye injuries may involve imaging studies such as x-ray or computerized tomography scans. When an eye injury is suspected, a physician should be consulted.

Treatment depends on the type of eye injury:

Foreign matter in the eye usually requires only simple treatment. Blinking often forces sand or dust out of the eye, but a moistened cotton swab can also be used for removal. If foreign matter is embedded in the eye, treatment should not be attempted at home. Your child should be taken to an urgent care or emergency room. A physician may apply surface antibiotics once the object is removed.

A scratched cornea usually heals without complications, but pain relievers and surface antibiotics may be prescribed. The treatment of cuts varies according to the extent of the injury. A small cut usually doesn’t need stitches, but a severe cut to the eyeball requires immediate treatment and usually requires surgery.

Chemical burns need emergency action which is required when your child’s eye has come in contact with chemicals. The affected eye should be immediately flushed with running water, and you should take your child to an urgent care or emergency room. To ease the pain, a physician may apply a surface anesthetic. If eye damage is severe, surgery may be necessary.

Eyelid lacerations: If the laceration is simple, as determined by your child’s physician, the cut will be sutured or stitched. Local anesthetic drops may be placed in the eye prior to the suturing, and the sutures will usually be taken out five to seven days after the injury. Sedation or general anesthesia may be needed for younger, uncooperative children. For larger lacerations, or if there is any involvement of the eye, an ophthalmologist may be consulted to evaluate and treat the wound.

Hyphema (blood in the eye): Most children with hyphema should be treated in an emergency room. Treatment includes eye drops, a patch over the eye and avoiding activities like reading to prevent eye movement.

Ecchymosis (bruised or black eye): Most black eyes heal completely and do not cause any damage to the eye. Treatment may include cold compresses to the eye for the first 24 hours, followed by warm compresses to the eye until the swelling stops. The child’s head should be elevated to help decrease the amount of swelling. It’s also important to know that the swelling and bruise may appear to spread and go down the cheek or to the other eye; this is normal. Consult your child’s physician if the bruising and swelling does not resolve on its own.

Fractures of the orbit: Your child should consult with an ophthalmologist to decide on treatment. In some cases, treatment may be delayed to allow for the swelling and bruising to go down. Double vision should resolve without treatment within three to four days. In severe fractures, or if the eye is involved, surgery may be needed.