- Injuries to the eye, eyelid, and area around the eye.
- The main concern is whether the vision is damaged
- Older children can tell us if their vision is blurred or out of focus. Test them at home by covering each eye in turn and having them look at a distant object.
- Children less than 5 years old usually need to be examined to rule out serious injuries affecting vision even if the injury is minor.
See More Appropriate Topic
- If foreign body present, see EYE, FOREIGN BODY IN
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
- You think your child has a serious injury
- Vision is blurred or lost in either eye
- Child reports double vision or unable to look upward
- Pupils unequal in size or abnormal shape
- Bloody or cloudy fluid behind the cornea (clear part)
- Object hit the eye at high speed (such as from a lawn mower)
- Sharp object hit the eye (such as metallic chip)
- Skin is split open or gaping and may need stitches
- Any cut on the eyelid or eyeball
- Constant tearing or blinking
- Child keeps the eye covered or refuses to open it
- Severe pain
- Age < 1 year old
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 and 4) If
- You think your child needs to be seen
- Bruises near the eye (such as a black eye or bleeding into the white of the eyeball) in child less than 5 years old
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
- You have other questions or concerns
Parent Care at Home If
- Mild eye injury and you don't think your child needs to be seen
Home Care Advice for Mild Eye Injuries
Superficial Cuts or Scrapes.
- Apply direct pressure for 10 minutes with a sterile gauze to stop any bleeding.
- Wash the wound with soap and water for 5 minutes. (Protect the eye with a clean cloth.)
- Apply antibiotic ointment to cuts. Cover large scrapes with Band-Aid. Change daily.
Swelling or Bruises with Intact Skin (including a Black Eye)
- Apply an ice pack for 20 minutes per hour to reduce the bleeding. Repeat for 4 consecutive hours.
- Note: A black eye usually takes 1 to 2 days to develop. A flame-shaped bruise of the white of the eyeball is also common.
- Apply a warm wash cloth for 10 minutes 3 times per day after 48 hours to help reabsorb the blood.
- Pain Medicine: Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen as necessary for pain relief.
- Expected Course: Both of these injuries are harmless, last about 2 weeks and cannot be helped by any medicine.
Call Your Doctor If
- Pain becomes severe
- Changes in vision
Your child becomes worse or develops any of the "Call Your Doctor Now" symptoms