The tissues and structures that comprise the eye are some of the most delicate parts of a child’s growing body. So it comes as no surprise that thousands of children sustain eye injuries each year due to infection, sports-related accidents and other recreational activities.
Here are the most common types of pediatric eye emergencies and tips on how to best manage them.
Formally called pediatric acute bacterial conjunctivitis, this severe type of pink eye affects about 1 in 8 children every year. Acute bacterial conjunctivitis typically affects babies, toddlers, and pre-school children.
A child with this infection may experience eye redness, discharge, and itchiness, usually in both eyes. About 39% of children will also have a severe ear infection along with the eye symptoms.
Treatment involves either topical or oral antibiotic medication, or both in severe cases. Contact Switalski Eye Care for prompt treatment if your child shows any signs of acute conjunctivitis.
Cuts or Scrapes In the Eye
Particles of sand, dust, wood shavings and other tiny objects can make their way into a child’s eye and cause a corneal abrasion (a scratch on the surface of the eye). Corneal abrasions may cause vision problems, stinging, burning, light sensitivity, red eyes, swollen eyes, grittiness, and watery eyes.
If you suspect that your child has a corneal abrasion, bring them to an eye doctor. Treatment typically includes eye drops, ointment, and sometimes pain relief.
Until you can visit the eye doctor, rinse the child’s affected eye with saline solution or clean tap water. You can also instruct your child to blink several times to try and flush out whatever is scratching the eye. Your child should not rub the eye, as rubbing can make almost any eye condition worse.
Blunt Eye Trauma
This can happen during sports or rough play. Blunt eye trauma can cause internal bleeding within the eye called hyphema. In severe causes, the extra blood within the eye can cause elevated inner eye pressure and lead to permanent vision loss.
Seek prompt medical care if your child has any of these symptoms after being struck in the eye: redness and swelling, eye drainage, eye pain that won’t go away, vision changes, visible abnormalities of the affected eye, or visible bleeding in the white of the eye (sclera).
Foreign Objects Stuck in the Eye
If your child is complaining that something is stuck in their eye, the first plan of action is to instruct them not to rub it. Visually inspect their eye and see if you find anything. If a foreign object is on the sclera, try flushing the eye with clean water or saline solution.
If it looks like something is lodged in the eye or penetrated through the eyeball, do not try and remove it. Seek immediate medical care.
Chemical Exposure To the Eye
Most households contain a multitude of products that can be damaging to a child’s eyes. Be sure to keep these items out of a child’s reach to prevent accidents. If chemical exposure does occur, check the product’s label for a phone number to call in case of emergency.
Hold your child’s eye open while you flush the eye area with clean water or eye irrigation fluid for about 20 minutes. If both eyes have been exposed, you can put the child in the shower and tell them to face the water so it flows into their eyes.
If you aren’t sure what chemical your child was exposed to, flush the eye before seeking medical treatment.
Above all, when it comes to pediatric eye emergencies, remaining calm is key. Maintaining your composure can help you provide the best care for your child and may help them to stay calm as well.
At Switalski Eye Care, we understand that accidents happen — and we’re here for you. For eye emergencies and other eye care services, call Switalski Eye Care in Switalski Eye Care today.
At Switalski Eye Care, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 972-424-2019 or book an appointment online to see one of our Plano eye doctors.
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