When it comes to eye injuries, it’s easy for parents to panic. Playing with other kids, playing sports, accidental scratches…there are a lot of situations that might cause eye trauma or injury.

How can parents know what is an emergency and what isn’t?

Here are a few things to look for after the eye injury trauma:

  • Any change in shape to eyeball
  • Obvious cut or scrape to the eyeball
  • Bleeding from the eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Extreme pain

If a child is experiencing any of these symptoms, they need to be taken to the emergency room or to see a pediatric ophthalmologist right away. 

Many eye injuries actually affect the outside of the eye and not the actual eyeball.

A few questions to ask to determine the severity of the injury:

  • Can the eye move in all directions?
  • Do the pupils of both eyes look the same? 
  • Ask the child to open and close both eyes individually. When they do, can they still see okay out of the eye that’s open? 

If the answer to these questions is yes, it is likely okay to watch the child for a bit and not rush to the emergency room or to the eye doctor’s office. 

If the area surrounding the eye has bruising or swelling, use an ice pack, wrapped in a washcloth or some type of cloth material or paper towel, to reduce that swelling or pain. Elevating the head can also keep the swelling down. 

Here are a few tips for parents to prevent eye injuries:

  • Keep babies and children away from sharp and/or pointy objects.
  • Watch children carefully when around equipment or situations that might toss cement, rock or any other hard substance into the air. Keep children away from grinders, construction areas, lawn mowers, etc. 
  • Pay attention to any area or situation marked with warning signs about eye protection. 

All eye injuries are not preventable, but making common sense choices can help. If parents have any questions about a possible eye injury, it is always best to contact your child’s pediatrician.