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Eye Injury: Causes and Prevention. By Our July Student Pharmacist, Ping Zhu.

eye anatomy

For most of us, our eyes are very important and very delicate organs. We all want to prevent vision loss and any injuries to the eyes. Some eye damage can take years before it manifests itself, while other eye injuries happen so fast that we can’t do anything to prevent the injury in advance.

There are some simple precautions, however, we can take to avoid getting injured in the first place.

With summer here and the weather sunny outside, we need to make sure our eyes are protected from overexposure to sunlight. Unprotected eyes can become damaged and, as we age, the damage can add up and cause problems with our vision.

Cataracts, the progressive clouding of the lens resulting in clouding of eyesight, can be caused by prolonged exposure to sunlight.

Another eye disease called macular degeneration, which is degeneration of the sharpest vision area of the retinas, may be due to cumulative Ultraviolet (UV) damage.

Besides these two vision loss diseases, sunlight damage can also cause eyelid cancer and other skin cancers around the eye.

Here are some things to prevent damage to your eyes:

  • The best protection strategy is to wear approved sunglasses.
  • Wraparound sunglasses are preferred as they cover more area.
  • Make sure the sunglasses you pick are American National Standard Institute (ANSI) and/or International Standard for Organization (ISO) approved and feel comfortable when wearing.
  • Try to limit sun exposure between 10 AM to 4 PM.
  • Use a hat with at least a three inch brim all around to protect eyelids and the surrounding area from getting too much sunlight.

Other than the sun, many things that we do daily have the potential of causing eye injuries.

  • Using hazardous products such as kitchen or bathroom plumbing chemicals or bleaches can cause eye damage if the solution is splashed into the eyes.
  • Mowing, clipping bushes, or using tools can also be dangerous if you are not wearing protective eyewear.
  • Proper eyewear can reduce eye injury by 90 percent. When choosing protective eyewear, make sure they have “ANSI Z78.1” labels on the glasses. This labeling means they meet specific safety standards.

eye blog

Although it may seem a little exaggerated that we need to wear protective glasses when doing things that we perceive as safe, taking extra care of our eyes will pay off in the long run. Statistics showed more than 40 percent of eye injuries occur at home and protective glasses can prevent many of those. One way to make this change easier is by putting a pair of protective eyewear next to the tools or hazardous products you use to remind you to wear them.

What to do if you get eye injuries?

If, unfortunately, you get an eye injury, it is important to go to the emergency room or see an eye doctor as soon as possible. On the way to the hospital, you can use some tips to prevent further damage to the eyes.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology listed some important points:

  • For ALL eye injuries, DO NOT touch, rub, or apply pressure to the eyes. See an eye doctor as soon as possible.
  • If your eyes have been cut or punctured, do not rinse or try to remove the objects. Put a shield over the eyes until getting medical attention.
  • If chemicals get into the eyes, immediately flush the eyes with clean water.
  • If foreign particles get into the eyes, depending on the size of the particles and the severity of the situation, blink your eyes several times to allow tears to flush out the particles. If the particles do not come out, close your eyes and seek medical attention. DO NOT try to remove particles by force.

For a complete list of things to do after eye injuries, visit American Academy of Ophthalmology.


American Academy of Ophthalmology




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