What Happens When You Get an Eye Injury?

Posted on Oct 24, 2022

Whenever the eye is hit or scratched, it can be injured in a variety of ways. The type of injury (blunt trauma, scratch, penetrating injury, etc) will determine the amount and type of damage to the eye. Injuries to the eye can be mild and require treatment to relieve symptoms or much more severe and have lifelong vision impacts. 


Types of Eye Injuries

The eye is susceptible to many different injuries. The most common injuries are a scratch on the front of the eye or the eyelid, trauma to the eyeball from being hit, and a piercing injury from an object penetrating the eye. 

Uncommon injuries include chemical burns, light or laser burns, and thermal damage. 


Corneal Abrasion or Scratched Eye

If something scratches the front of the eye, it can result in a corneal abrasion

This occurs when the epithelial layer of the cornea, which is the top layer, is removed by an object that contacts the eye. 

A corneal abrasion can be caused by many different things including a fingernail or claw, tree branch, contact lens, or any object that hits the front of the eye. 


Treatment for a Corneal Abrasion

The treatment for a corneal abrasion is typically eye drops to prevent an infection on the damaged cornea. 

Additional treatment may include using a contact lens as a bandage over the injury on the cornea. 


Sub Conjunctival Hemorrhage or Bloody Eye

Another very common injury that can occur in the eyes is a sub conjunctival hemorrhage. 

This will cause the white of the eye to have a very bloody appearance. 

A small blood vessel will rupture and leak into the membrane of the front of the eye. This leads to a bloody red eye without pain. 

Frequently, a sub conjunctival hemorrhage can occur after trauma or forcible contact to the eye. 


Treatment for a Sub Conjunctival Hemorrhage 

A sub conjunctival hemorrhage does not require any treatment if it occurs as a result of an injury.

If there is irritation or pain, artificial tears or lubricant eye drops can be used as needed for comfort. 


Orbital Fracture or Broken Eye Socket

A severe injury to the eye can cause an orbital fracture. 

An orbital fracture occurs when the bones of the eye socket are broken. Usually, the cheekbone and lower part of the eye socket will be the bone broken. 

Being hit in the eye by anything with extreme force including a baseball, punch, or during a car crash. 


Treatment for an Orbital Fracture Eye Injury

An orbital fracture is concerning and will require treatment in an emergency room or urgent care. 

An MRI or x ray of the orbit will be done to confirm the fractured bones and then begin to identify treatment options. 

If there is a muscle pinned in the fractured bone, it can require surgery to remove it. 

After the acute injury heals, surgery may be needed to repair the eye socket and align the eyes. 


Penetrating Injury or Ruptured Eye Injury

The most severe of the eye injuries, a ruptured eye can occur when a high speed object pierces the eyeball. 

These injuries are uncommon and require emergent evaluation to maintain the best outcome. 

Causes of a penetrating injury include bullets or other projectiles, fireworks, and sharp objects like knives. 

These injuries will nearly always result in lasting vision loss and damage. 


Treatment for a Ruptured Eye

When evaluating a penetrating injury or ruptured eye, if there is not anything remaining in the eye, suturing or sealing the wound is the primary treatment. 

Once the wound is sealed, additional treatments may vary based on the type of damage caused by the injury. 


Our eye doctors at Eye Theory in Houston, TX excel in the prescription of contact lenses, glasses and various eye diseases.  Call our optometrist at 832.831.7386 or schedule an appointment online if you would like to learn more about treating eye injuries.  Our eye doctor, Dr. Jonathan Tsao, provides the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in the Midtown, Downtown, Museum District, Montrose, East Downtown, and Southside Commons (Southside Place) vicinities of Houston, Texas as well as our newest location in the Stone Oaks neighborhood of San Antonio, Texas.

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