Babysitting: Dealing With Eye Injuries

Most eye injuries are minor. Getting soap, sand, or dirt in the eye or under the eyelid are common ways the eye can become irritated. Still, some eye injuries can be serious and require immediate medical attention.

Possible signs and symptoms of a mild eye irritation are:

  • redness
  • stinging or burning
  • teary or watery eyes
  • blurred vision
  • sensitivity to light
  • swelling of the eyelids
  • discoloration around the eye

What to Do

If a child has a mild eye irritation:

  • Wash your hands before touching the child's eyes.
  • Flush the eye with water as soon as possible: Tilt the child's head over a sink with the affected eye pointed down.
  • Gently pull down the lower lid, then gently pour steady stream of lukewarm water over the eye.
  • Flush the eye for up to 15 minutes; check every 5 minutes to see if the eye is being cleaned out.

Possible signs and symptoms of a severe eye injury are:

  • the child has trouble seeing
  • something is stuck in the eye
  • the child has severe eye pain
  • blood in the eye
  • the child feels sick or vomits after hurting his or her eye

For severe eye injuries, call 911 immediately and then call the child's parents.

Help prevent eye injuries by keeping chemicals, sharp objects, or other items that could cause serious eye injuries out of the reach of children.

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: October 2010

Kids Health

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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