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How to Treat Eye Injuries in Children

Children are often prone to injury – they have yet to develop hand-eye coordination, they’re curious and frankly, they fall down a lot. But what happens when playful curiosity leads to an accidental eye injury?

Warning Signs
Aside from the obvious crying and pointing to their eye, there are other signs your child could be experiencing pain or discomfort in the eye:

  • Red, bloodshot and/or irritated eyes
  • Constantly rubbing one or both of their eyes
  • Tearing up not from crying
  • Holding their eye
  • Keeping one or both eyes closed
  • Avoiding sunlight or brightly lit rooms
  • Discharge from the eye – clear or thick and colored
  • Decreased vision


Scratched Eye
Spring is quickly approaching and kids will start to spend more time outside – the perfect opportunity for them to get a foreign substance, such as dirt or pollen, in their eye, causing trauma to it. If your child’s eye is scratched, you should immediately contact your eye doctor to prevent further damage from taking place. If there is a foreign substance still in the eye, make sure to rinse it out with saline solution or clean water. Having your child blink can also help clear an irritant out of their eye. Make sure they don’t rub or touch their eyes, as it could make their injury worse.

Blunt Trauma/Black Eye
After blunt trauma to the eye, like a ball or an elbow, you should seek medical treatment for your child right away to ensure that no bones are broken, and there is no damage to the eyeball itself. If everything checks out and your child is left with a nasty shiner, there are a few thingsyou can do to help the healing process. These include icing the eye immediately after injury and after a day or so, switching to a warm compress to promote circulation and reduce bruising. Additionally, keeping your child’s head elevated will limit swelling and the pooling of blood around the eye.

Eye Infection
An eye infection can be caused by a number of factors including allergies, dry eyes, and bacteria or viruses. No matter the cause, if your child is suffering from symptoms such as redness of the eye, swollen eyelids, burning or itchy eyes or discharge from the eye, be sure to visit your eye doctor for the appropriate treatment. Until your child can be seen by the doctor, make sure they don’t touch or rub their eyes to prevent the infection from spreading. Also, applying a warm compress to the infected eye for a few minutes 3 or 4 times a day will help relieve some of the discomfort associated with an infection.

Eye injuries, no matter the severity, should be taken seriously to prevent further injury or irreparable damage to your child’s vision and eye. If you are ever unsure about the severity of an eye injury or what the injury is, you should seek medical treatment or advice from your eye doctor immediately.