First Aid for Eyes

It is vital that you know what to do if an eye injury occurs and by acting quickly and applying the correct first aid techniques, serious eye damage can be avoided.

First aid for cuts to the eyes

  • Do not attempt to treat any cuts to the eye area, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Do not apply pressure to the wound to control bleeding.
  • Don’t wash the eyes with water and do not remove contact lenses or particles that may be the cause of the laceration.
  • Gently cover the eye with a bandage or pad until you have medical assistance.

First aid for cuts to the eyelids

  • Carefully wash the eye and cover with a bandage or clean cloth whilst you seek medical help.
  • If bleeding, gently apply pressure until the bleeding subsides.
  • Rinse the eye area with water and dress with a bandage. Apply a cold compression to reduce any pain or swelling.
  • Seek medical advice.

First aid for foreign bodies in the eyes

Foreign bodies that get into the eyes fall into one of two categories. Superficial foreign bodies can get trapped under the eyelid or get stuck to the eyeball but don’t penetrate the outer coat of the eye. Penetrating foreign bodies break the outer layer of the eye and are more serious than superficial bodies.

  • Gently lift the upper eyelid and pull it down over the lower lash allowing the lower eyelashes to brush away particles, this should also cause tears to flow which often wash away any superficial bodies from the eye. If you have an eye wash station available, use this to wash the eye.
  • If this does not work then close the eye and seek medical assistance immediately.
  • Do not try and remove any penetrating foreign bodies as this may cause more harm to the eye.
  • Do not rub the eye as this may also cause damage.

First aid for chemicals in the eyes

  • Carefully separate both eyelids in order to keep both open as wide as possible and flush the eye with cool water for 15 minutes.
  • Seek urgent medical attention and continue to flush the eye with cool water or saline.
  • If the person is wearing contact lenses and the water doesn’t flush them out ask them to remove the lenses carefully, ensure that the contacts are only removed after the flushing procedure has been attempted.

First aid for physical trauma to the eyes

  • Steadily apply a small cold compress to reduce any pain and swelling of the eye area without putting any pressure onto the eye.
  • Seek medical advice.

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