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In most cases the greatest danger to the eye arises from objects of relatively small size traveling at a high speed such as a BB gun pellet, sling shot missile or small stone thrown by a rotary lawn mower. Penetrating injuries can also occur from high speed industrial activities and windshield glass. In any case, any foreign body within the eye can cause a serious problem.
The minute you have an injury to your eye you should immediately cup a hand over the eye and try not to blink. Allow the tears that will come with an injury to the eye to flow freely since they tend to form a protective film. Do not rub the eye since this could cause a liquid irritant to spread or a foreign object to cut the eye. If the object does not wash out naturally, the object cannot be removed or the eye hurts after the object is removed, close the eye and cover it with a cotton wool pad or gauze that is taped in place until you can get to a doctor. A blow that causes a black eye can injure the eye causing internal bleeding which will lead to infection. The eye should be covered with a cold compress and examined by a doctor. When a splinter or sharp object is impaled in the eye never attempt to remove it. Cover the eye with a paper cup and tape it in place while the person is transported to a doctor. When chemicals are splashed into the eye they must be washed out immediately before you even take time to call a doctor. Have the person lie flat on their back near a faucet or hose and hold the eye lid open as you pour water gently but generously over the eye for 15 minutes.
Any serious injury to the eye damages the cornea and the crystalline lens. Central corneal wounds impair the vision by causing scarring. Damage to the lens can cause a cataract to form with the result being loss of vision in the affected eye. Blunt trauma to the eyeball can cause tearing of the iris or rupture of the sclera which will make the eyeball collapse and cause permanent blindness. In an injury of a lesser degree that does not cause penetration bleeding behind the lens known as vitreous hemorrhaging is possible. There is also the possibility of bleeding into the front chamber of the eye, retinal detachment or injury to the trabeculum or fluid out flow drain of the eye. All of theses injuries can lead to glaucoma.
Most people are known to get something in their eye at least once in their lives. In most cases it is nothing more than a particle of dust, metal, plastic or wood that has been deflected into the eye while working or playing. It is rare that an object traveling at high speed actually will penetrate the eyeball. Any foreign body under the eyelid or on the cornea or conjunctiva will irritate the eye causing pain, redness and tearing. This will usually case an uncontrollable eyelid contraction. These symptoms might even improve even if the foreign body is not removed from the eye. But at times when the eye has been penetrated there may not be any symptoms. Many foreign bodies that are left in the eyeball may dissolve to release pigment into the substance of the eye that could cause blindness, while other foreign bodies may remain whole causing an infection that could lead to blindness. Always see a doctor for any type of eye injury to protect your vision.