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How would you treat a penetrating eye injury?

Posted by firstaidinstructor on April 13, 2009

Penetrating eye injuries are serious and can be prevented by wearing protective eyewear. A common cause is pieces of metal flying off at high speed from metal to metal contact eg hammering metal fencing, vehicle accidents and using other tools etc.

Signs & Symptoms

·        Object lodged in eye

·        Pain

·        Feeling a blow to the eye ( eg whilst hammering)


DO NOT attempt to remove an embedded foreign body.

DO NOT wash out the eye or use antibiotic ointments.

Cover with an eye shield rather than a pad to prevent direct pressure on the cornea (front covering of the eye).  The bottom half of a clean plastic drink cup is effective if an eye shield is not available.

Send patient to the nearest GP, hospital or ophthalmologist for medical attention.

The injured person must not eat or drink before being examined.


The doctor may use local anaesthetic drops to relieve the pain. Treatment will depend on the severity of injury most likely you will require transfer to a metropolitan or regional hospital for surge

Injuries to the eye can cause blindness, therefore it is very important that proper care be taken to prevent injury. NEVER put direct pressure on the eyeball or object. The steps to caring for a penetrating eye injury are:
1) Gently place the victim on his or her back.
2) DO NOT attempt to remove the object from their eye.
3) Place a sterile dressing around the object, without applying direct pressure.
4) Stabilize the object as best you can, such as by placing a cup over the object. If the object would stick out the cup, punch a hole in the cup so that the object can fit through it.
5) Apply a bandage around the head and eye.
6) Call 999 or bring the person to the nearest emergency room for further treatment.

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