Eye injuries

The eye can be injured superficially (e.g. only the cornea), but foreign bodies can also penetrate the eye.


The eye can be injured superficially (e.g. only the cornea), but foreign bodies can also penetrate the eye. Typical symptoms include pain, visual impairment and swelling. Small superficial wounds heal by themselves, but more serious injuries often require an operation.


Main symptoms

  • Pain
  • Feeling of something in your eye
  • Itching, burning, scratching
  • Visual impairment
  • Red eye
  • Very watery eyes
  • Swelling around the eye
  • Eyelids can't be opened any more
  • Sensitivity to light (“everything is very bright”)


Causes and treatment


  • Blows can cause contusion (bruising) of the eyeball
    • Injury to the cornea, retina, lens or iris
  • Sharp (knife) or pointed (e.g. branch) objects can make a hole in the eyeball
    • Loss of vision owing to structural damage
    • Bacterial infection
  • UV rays or very bright light can cause inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva
  • Acid and lye can chemically burn the eye (in particular the cornea)
    • Cement, plaster
    • Battery acid
    • Bleach, cleaning agents
    • Fertiliser

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Examination by an eye doctor using special devices (slit lamp, etc.)
  • CT scan (computed tomography)
Possible therapies
  • Bandage
  • Eye drops
  • Eye wash
  • Operation
  • Antibiotics (to prevent infection)

What can I do myself?

  • Don’t rub your eye as this can push a foreign body deeper into the eye
  • Immobilisation, cover the eye
  • Careful cooling
  • Immediately rinse eye copiously if chemical burns
  • Wear sunglasses, protective glasses, swimming goggles, etc. as a preventive measure

When to see a doctor?

  • Severe bruising of the eye
  • Open wounds
  • Chemical burns
  • Burns
  • A foreign body can’t be removed
  • Constant itching, burning, scratching

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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