Common Causes of Eye Injuries

Given how sensitive the eyes are, it’s very common for them to become irritated at times, and even possible for you to develop an eye injury. Eye injuries can be the result of many different reasons, including trauma to the eye itself (i.e. due to a workplace injury), or can be caused by something as simple as rubbing the eyes. Below is a look at some of the most common eye injuries that we can sustain, as well as what you can do to treat them and help speed up the healing process.


If you scratch the eye, the medical term for this is known as “corneal abrasion.” You can develop a corneal abrasion from being poked in the eye, or from rubbing the eye when there is a foreign body present in it — such as dust, sand, or even makeup. When you have a corneal abrasion, it can cause significant discomfort as well as redness of the eye, and you may also find that you are more sensitive to light. Depending on the severity of the abrasion, as well as the fact that it is possible to develop an eye infection as a result of the abrasion, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible — either by seeing your family doctor (or going to your nearest walk-in clinic if your family doctor is not available) or optometrist. An optometrist will be able to further evaluate your eyes with special lighting and tools to ensure that your eyes are in good condition and that no abnormalities are going on. In the case that the scratch is superficial in nature, it’s often a matter of letting the eye heal on its own — though you may find slight relief from numbing drops or the use of artificial tear drops. When you have a corneal abrasion, it’s not typically recommended that you cover it with a patch, as this can be a thriving environment for bacteria to grow. You should also avoid rubbing your eyes, as this will only cause further damage.


Foreign objects such as shards of glass, metal, or other materials can easily get into the eye — and, along with causing a corneal abrasion, can do all sorts of other damage of not treated in a timely manner. If a foreign object does enter your eye, it’s important that you do not attempt to remove it yourself. Instead, you should present to your local emergency room so that a trained professional can help remove it.


You may not think twice about certain chemicals (household items, for example) being harmful to the eyes when the reality is that they can be. While some of the chemicals found in the everyday substances that we use aren’t harmful, others can be, and they can cause significant injury to the eye all depending on the chemical involved. It’s not that difficult for the eyes to become exposed to some of these chemicals, either, as all it takes is a small splash of the liquid getting into the eye to cause irritation. Your eyes can also come in contact with certain chemicals if you use sprays or can be transferred to the eyes if you happen to use your hands to rub your eyes. If your eyes become exposed to chemicals, run your eyes under a stream of luke-warm tap water for 10 to 15 minutes to ensure you remove as much of the chemical from it as possible. If your eye is significantly red or you are noticing severe blurred vision, it’s recommended that you go to the nearest emergency room.

Originally published at on May 11, 2019.



Dr. Ali Ghahary is a Family Physician in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

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