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May is Vision Health Month. Do You Know What to do in an Eye Emergency?

Dianne 2010By Dianne Rende
Any injury to the eye could potentially lead to a loss of sight, which is why knowing first aid for the eye is
so important.

First Aid for the Eye

To locate and remove a loose foreign particle from the eye:

  • Begin by asking the casualty where s/he feels the particle is located.
  • Find out what happened. If a loose particle, such as dust or an eyelash is suspected, and the
    particle is not sharp, the first aider should follow the procedure outlined below to locate and
    remove the particle.
  • If it feels like the particle is under the upper lid, instruct the casualty to grasp the upper
    eyelashes and pull the lid straight out and then down over the lower eyelashes to try to sweep
    the particle away. Try this several times. Remember to remove excess eye make-up before
    attempting this procedure. If the particle is still in the eye, try flushing it out using clean running
    water from a tap, an eye cup or eye wash bottle.
  • If the above methods have not been successful, you will need to examine the surface of the eye
    and under the lids.

First Aid for an embedded object in or near the eyeball:

  • Leave the object where it is and get medical help. Prevent the embedded object from moving since
    movement could cause further damage to the eyeball.
  • Lay the casualty down and, if available, have a bystander support the head to reduce movement.
  • Place dressings, preferably sterile, around the embedded object. Place padding or dressings around the object in a “log cabin” fashion, to stabilize the object. Make sure there is no pressure on the eyeball.

Arrange transportation of the casualty on a stretcher to medical help as soon as possible.

The St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital
At St. John Ambulance, we support more than just our local communities, we also have international initiatives that strive to improve the lives of those who are part of our global community, such as the St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital, which is the only charity offering expert eye care to the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Hospital’s goal is to eliminate preventable blindness in the region by 2020.

The services provided by the Jerusalem Eye Hospital have helped restore vision, dignity and independence to countless people in the region. For more information visit www.stjohneyehospital.org.

Dianne Rende is the Executive Director of St. John Ambulance, Peel Dufferin Branch. As Canada’s leading authority in first aid, St. John Ambulance is dedicated to improving health and safety at work, at home and at play. Dianne can be reached by email at [email protected] or for more information visit www.sja.ca.

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