Information for Patients
The structure of your face helps protect your eyes from injury. Still, injuries can damage your eye, sometimes severely enough that you could lose your vision. Most eye injuries are preventable. If you play sports or work in certain jobs, you may need protection.
The most common type of injury happens when something irritates the outer surface of your eye. Certain jobs such as industrial jobs or hobbies such as carpentry make this type of injury more likely. It's also more likely if you wear contact lenses.
Chemicals or heat can burn your eyes. With chemicals, the pain may cause you to close your eyes. This traps the irritant next to the eye and may cause more damage. You should wash out your eye right away while you wait for medical help.
If you've ever gotten a splinter or had sand in your eye, you've had experience with a foreign body. A foreign body is something that is stuck inside you but isn't supposed to be there. You may inhale or swallow a foreign body, or you may get one from an injury to almost any part of your body. Foreign bodies are more common in small children, who sometimes stick things in their mouths, ears, and noses.
Some foreign bodies, like a small splinter, do not cause serious harm. Inhaled or swallowed foreign bodies may cause choking or bowel obstruction and may require medical care.