The combination of the facial muscle, the eyelids and other defence mechanisms are usually quite effective in preventing injuries to the eye, however they do still occur. Eye injuries are often more common in people who work in industrial areas or have jobs that involve activities such as welding and carpentry. The most common eye injuries involve damage to the outer surface of the eye. The surface of the eye can become scratched by foreign objects such as sticks, fingers and the claws of pets. Sometimes foreign objects can become lodged in the eye and need to be removed. Caustic substances such as cleaning chemicals can also cause damage to the eye. Sometimes the eye area and the tissue around the eye can become swollen as a result of trauma or from a resulting infection.
A common eye injury is a subconjunctival haemorrhage. The conjunctiva is the outermost protective layer covering the surface of the eye and the inside of the eyelid. A subconjunctival haemorrhage occurs when the small blood vessels in the conjunctiva rupture. This causes the sclera, otherwise known as the white part of the eye to appear red. This can occur as a result of an eye injury, from sudden elevated blood pressure, or spontaneously.
A hyphema occurs when blood accumulates in the anterior chamber. The anterior chamber is located between the cornea (the transparent layer covering the front of the eye) and the iris (the coloured part of the eye). A hyphema is most often caused by blunt force trauma to the eye.
Blunt force trauma can also cause traumatic iritis. Traumatic iritis is characterised by low grade irritation and photophobia.
An orbital blowout fracture is a fracture of the bones surrounding the eye and is the result of significant trauma to the eye area. Given enough force, the orbital bones can fracture or even break.
There are a range of treatment options available when treating eye injuries.