School Nurse Emergency Highlight - Eye Injury

Almost half of all eye injuries are experienced by students aged 14 and younger.

Most student eye injuries are sports-related, and many require emergency care.

Eye Injury

  1. Try to flush object out of student’s eye with clean water or saline solution from ampoule, eyecup or small, clean drinking glass. If unavailable, use clean jug to pour stream of cool water across eye and into bowl or basin.
  2. Do not attempt to remove large foreign body embedded in eye, or if object is over coloured part of eye. Cover eye with eye pad or wound dressing and restrict movement.
  3. Call 000 if object cannot be removed or is embedded in eyeball. Reassure student while waiting for ambulance.


Frequently Asked Questions

What causes eye injuries? Injuries to the eye and surrounding structures can be caused by blunt trauma from a ball or fist, sharp trauma such as a stick or projectile, or chemical trauma such as splash from a caustic substance like a cleaning material or pool chemical.

Which part of the eye can be injured? Injuries to the eye can involve the eyelids, the bones surrounding the eye and the eyeball itself.

Can being struck with a ball or elbow during play cause damage inside the eye? Yes. Blunt trauma may cause bleeding inside the eye. The blood in the eye can cause increased pressure, which can result in permanent vision loss. Trauma associated with swelling of the eyelid, red eye, pain or discharge should be evaluated by an ophthalmologist promptly.

What should I do if a chemical or cleaning solution splashes into a student’s eye? Immediately flush the eye with clean, lukewarm water. Rinsing the chemical out of the eye decreases the chance of long-term problems. The next step is to promptly contact a doctor. It is important to take the chemical or solution to the evaluation to help the doctor determine appropriate treatment.

Should I try to remove an object that's embedded in a student’s eyeball? No. Do not try to remove an object that's embedded in an eyeball. You may cause further damage. Call 000 immediately.

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