Black Eyes might be something we associated with little boys playground scraps and big boys bar room brawls, but sometimes a black eye can actually indicate something much more serious, even something like a skull fracture, especially if the injured person has two black eyes (raccoon eyes). Either way, a black eye does need treatment;
- Gently apply a cold compress around the black eye, but don’t press onto the eye itself. This could help to reduce the swelling.
- Take notice of any evidence of blood in the whites of the eyes or around the colored parts, if there is blood present then it could mean something serious and, even in a disaster situation you should try to seek professional medical care as soon as is possible.
- If the person has problems with vision it’s also important to seek medical help when possible.
Still on the subject of eyes, it’s important to take urgent steps if any chemical accidentally splashes into your eyes;
- Flush the eye for at least 20 minutes with clean, lukewarm water, either by holding a shower head over the affected eye or putting your head down and sideways beneath a running faucet.
- Wash hands with soap and warm water, just in case you got any chemicals on them. Of course, the top priority is to remove the chemicals from the eyes, the hands come next!
- Remove contact lenses . . . if you have them.
Don’t rub your eyes, this could cause even more damage!
Corneal abrasion is a very common injury in disaster situations, what with all of that dust and debris flying about everywhere. It can be really painful, often feeling like there is sand in your eyes when in fact it’s a scratch on your cornea. Other symptoms may be tears, redness, sensitivity and blurred vision. What to do;
- Rinse out the eye with clean water, using an eye cup or a small drinking glass if possible.
- Blink a few times, trying to “blink it out” often works.
- Pulling the upper eyelid down over the lower eyelid is another neat trick, because the eyelashes may brush the foreign object away from your upper eyelid.
Corneal abrasion – what NOT to do;
- Try to remove anything which is embedded in the eye.
- Rub your eyes, you might make matters worse.
- Touch your eyeball . . . uh, makes me shudder at the thought of it, my eyes are actually watering right now . . . don’t touch it with tweezers, cotton swabs or anything else you might be tempted to use from your first aid disaster supplies kit.