All You Need to Know to Handle Eye Injuries in Kids

by Aaron Barriga
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Eye injuries can be severe and sometimes even painful for children. Often, during sports, play, or other physical activities, children can hurt their eyes.

An eye injury could range from a harmless corneal abrasion to a chemical burn – and delaying treatment may worsen the damage. 

Approximately 2.4 million eye injuries are reported in the United States every year. About one-third of these are in people aged seventeen or younger. {Children’s Hospital}

In many cases, the injuries occur at home. So, it is best to stay informed about the basic nature of eye injuries and the treatment process. It may help you to make the right decision in an emergency.

kid with eye injury

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Signs & Symptoms of Eye Injuries

Depending upon the nature of the eye injury, your child may show some signs or symptoms of eye injury. Here’s a look at some of the most common symptoms of eye injuries. 

  • Redness in or around the eye
  • Blood in the eyeball
  • Stinging or burning sensation in the eye
  • Watering eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Changing the shape of the iris or pupil
  • Pain in the eyes (or in one eye)
  • Swelling in the eyelids
  • Blurred vision
  • Discoloration in the eye(s)


Types of Eye Injuries

As mentioned above, there are many different kinds of eye injuries. Some of the common kinds of eye injuries are listed below –

Corneal Abrasion

The cornea is the clear part of the eye above the iris. A scratch in this eye area is known as a corneal abrasion. If your child has trouble keeping their eye open, has eye pain, constant watering and blinking – it may be a corneal abrasion. It may be caused if a child gets poked in the eye while playing, like a tree branch, pointed object, or fingernail. Sometimes, if a foreign object gets stuck under the eye, it may also scratch the cornea.


Bruised Eyelids

If your child has hit their eye with something blunt and hard, or they can bruise their eyelids. Such an injury is also known as the ‘black eye’ due to the black-blue appearance of the bruise. The swelling and the bruise get worse for two or three days before it begins to recede.


Cut or Scratch of Eyelids

Some injuries may cause cuts or scratches on the eyelids. If your child has suffered cuts or scratches on their eyelids, visit a doctor to ensure they have not damaged their eye. The doctor may ask you to get the eye examined by an ophthalmologist.


Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

If the eye gets a small scratch on the sclera or the white part of the eyeball, it is known as a subconjunctival haemorrhage. Typically, the bruise is red and shaped like a flame. It is a mild injury and heals within two weeks.


Acute Hyphema

Bleeding between the cornea and the iris due to injury by a blunt object.


Punctured Eyeball

A severe injury described as a tear or a deep scratch in the cornea or sclera. This can happen with tiny objects or foreign particles landing in the eye.


Chemical Burns

Chemical burns occur when your child gets some strong chemical in their eyes. It may be caused by household cleaning agents or some other chemical falling into the eye, which can be severe. If your child has a chemical burn eye injury, they should be taken to a doctor immediately.


    What to Do for Eye injury

    If your child has a burning sensation or irritation in their eye, you should – 

    • Wash your hands with soap before touching the eye area
    • Flush the eye as thoroughly as possible.
    • Keep your child’s head tilted over the sink with the injured eye pointed downwards
    • Gently pull the lower lid downwards and direct a steady stream of lukewarm water into the eye
    • Flush the eye for at least fifteen minutes, checking every five minutes to ensure that any foreign particle has been flushed out.


    When to See a Doctor for an Eye injury

    If your child has one or more of the below-listed symptoms, you should see a doctor without delay –

    1. Pupils are unequal in size
    2. A sharp object has hit the eye
    3. You can see a cut on the eyelid or eyeball
    4. Your child has a serious injury over the eye
    5. The skin around the eye or on the eyelid is split open and needs stitches
    6. They have bruises near the eyes
    7. They have severe eye pain
    8. One or both eyes are very sensitive to light
    9. Red or irritated eyes
    10. You can see blood in their eye(s)
    11. Nausea or vomiting after an eye injury




    • Aaron Barriga

      Aaron Barriga is the online marketing manager for Insight Vision Center. With a knack for understanding medical procedures, and an interest in eye and vision health, Aaron loves to share what he knows and what he learns. He blogs to inform readers about the latest eye care technology and other topics related to eye care, especially LASIK. Aaron loves collecting coasters from the different bars and restaurants he visits during his travels.

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