First aid treatment for eye injuries

First aid essentials: Treating eye injuries

Every year, thousands of people experience eye injuries, ranging from minor irritations to severe trauma. While accidents can happen anytime, anywhere, having the knowledge of first aid treatment for eye injuries can make a significant difference in preventing further damage and promoting recovery. In this blog, Rose will delve into the essential steps and best practices for administering first aid for eye injuries.

Key facts and statistics

  • According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), approximately 10-20% of all workplace injuries involve the eyes.
  • The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reports that around 40% of eye injuries occur in the construction, manufacturing, and healthcare sectors.
  • Each day, more than 2,000 workers in the UK sustain eye injuries that require medical treatment, as highlighted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).

Key definitions

Before diving into the specifics of first aid for eye injuries, it's essential to understand some key terms:

  • Cornea - The transparent front part of the eye that covers the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber.
  • Conjunctiva - The thin, transparent membrane covering the white part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids.
  • Foreign body - Any object or substance that enters the eye and causes irritation or injury.

Relevant legislation and regulations

Here are some legislations and regulations relevant to eye injury first aid treatment:

  • The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 (UK) require employers to provide adequate first aid equipment, facilities, and training to deal with injuries, including those affecting the eyes.
  • The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 (UK) mandate employers to assess and control the risks associated with hazardous substances that could cause eye injuries.

Best practices and symptoms

Common symptoms of eye injuries include pain, redness, tearing, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light. In cases of chemical exposure, individuals may experience burning or stinging sensations. Here are some best practices relevant for eye injury first aid treatment:

  • Encouraging individuals to wear appropriate eye protection in hazardous environments.
  • Promptly flushing the affected eye with clean water or saline solution to remove foreign bodies.
  • Avoid rubbing or applying pressure to the injured eye, which can exacerbate damage.
  • Seeking medical attention for severe or penetrating eye injuries without delay.

Immediate response

  • Assess the situation - Determine the nature and severity of the injury. If there's any doubt, seek medical assistance.
  • Flush the eye - Use clean water or a sterile saline solution to rinse the affected eye thoroughly. Ensure the water flows from the inner corner of the eye towards the outer corner to avoid further contamination.
  • Remove foreign objects - If a foreign body is visible on the surface of the eye, try to remove it gently using a clean, damp cloth or sterile eye wash.
  • Cover the eye - Once flushed, cover the injured eye with a clean, sterile dressing or gauze to protect it from further damage.

Seeking medical help

Even if the initial first aid measures alleviate symptoms, it's crucial to seek professional medical evaluation for all eye injuries, especially those involving chemicals, sharp objects, or impact trauma.


  • Educate employees and individuals on the importance of eye safety and first aid awareness through regular training sessions and informational campaigns.
  • Ensure workplaces are equipped with appropriate first aid kits containing eye wash solutions, sterile dressings, and eye patches.
  • Encourage prompt reporting of any eye injuries or incidents to facilitate timely intervention and treatment.


Injuries to the eyes can have significant implications for an individual's vision and overall well-being. By equipping ourselves with the knowledge and skills to administer effective first aid, we can minimise the impact of such incidents and promote a safer environment for all. Remember, swift action and proper care can make all the difference in preserving sight and preventing further complications.

Click here to explore our comprehensive first aid training courses and qualifications to empower yourself and your team with the skills and confidence to respond effectively to emergencies, including eye injuries. Don't wait until it's too late – invest in safety today!

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always seek professional medical assistance in emergency situations.

About the author

Rose Mabiza

Rose has dedicated over 15 years to improving health and social care quality through practice, targeted education and training. Her extensive experience includes working with older adults, individuals with mental health conditions, and people with autism and learning disabilities.

First aid essentials: Treating eye injuries - ComplyPlus LMS™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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