Sports First Aid Level 3 (VTQ)

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Eye Injuries

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Dealing with Eye Injuries: First Aid Guide

Types of Eye Injuries

Eye injuries can take various forms, including cuts, impact injuries, foreign objects entering the eye, or exposure to chemicals or other substances.

Initial Steps

1. Contact Lenses: If the patient wears contact lenses, encourage them to remove the lenses if possible.

2. Chemical Exposure: In case of a chemical in the eye, flush it out carefully. Always wash away from the unaffected eye to prevent chemical rinsing into the good eye.

  • Use a saline solution, an eyewash station, or clean water.
  • Take note of the chemical for information to provide to emergency services.
  • If available, provide a chemical label or datasheet to send with the patient to the hospital.
  • Flush the eye for at least 20 minutes to ensure the substance is fully removed.

3. Foreign Objects: Small particles like grit, sand, or dirt can be carefully blinked out or washed away. Use the corner of a sterile dressing or a tissue.

Scratched Eye or Cuts

If there's a suspicion of an eye scratch or cuts around the eye:

  • Apply a sterile eye pad dressing to the injured area.
  • Reassure the patient and help them stay calm as vision impairment can be distressing.
  • Provide a tissue for the patient to wipe away any blood that may trickle down their face for comfort.
  • When using an eye pad dressing, ensure it doesn't cover the patient's ears to avoid affecting their hearing.

Remember that the eyes track together when treating any eye injury.

Preventing Further Damage

If movement could worsen the injury, such as when a foreign object is lodged in the eye:

  • Cover both eyes to immobilize them.
  • In cases like this, the patient should sit with their hands cupped over their eyes to prevent eye movement.
  • Keep a hand on their shoulder and provide reassurance while waiting for emergency services.

Transport and Caution

When moving a patient with an eye injury:

  • Keep them calm and reassure them, as they trust you for guidance and care.

What Not to Do

Important do nots for eye injuries:

  • Do not attempt to remove any object that has penetrated the eye.
  • Do not touch or rub the eye.
  • Avoid wearing eye makeup around the injured eye.
  • Do not use contact lenses until the eye has healed.

When to Seek Hospital Care

Follow NHS guidelines to send a patient to the hospital after an eye injury in the following cases:

  • Strong chemical exposure (e.g., oven cleaner or bleach).
  • Sharp object piercing the eye.
  • High-speed impact on the eye (e.g., power tool or lawn mower accident).
  • Changes to the eye's appearance after the injury.
  • Headache, high temperature, or light sensitivity.
  • Nausea or vomiting after the eye injury.
  • Inability to move or open the eye.
  • Blood or pus coming from the eye.