A speck of dust, a loose eyelash, or even a contact lens can float on the white of the eye.
Usually, such objects can easily be rinsed off. However you must not touch anything that sticks to the eye, penetrates the eyeball, or rests on the coloured part of the eye (iris and pupil) because this may damage the eye. Instead, make sure the casualty gets medical attention quickly.
There may be:
- Blurred vision.
- Pain or discomfort.
- Redness and watering of the eye.
- Eyelids screwed up in spasm.
Your aim is to prevent injury to the eye.
- Sit the casualty down facing the light.
- Stand behind the casualty and gently separate the eyelids with your finger and thumb.
- Ensure you examine every part of the eye, ask the casualty to look up, down, left and right.
If you can see an object on the white of the eye:
- Wash it out with clean water poured from a glass or a sterile eye-wash bath.
- Incline the casualty’s head towards the injured side and place a towel or pad on the shoulder.
- Pour the water from the bridge of the nose allowing it to run through and flush the eye out.
- If this is unsuccessful then lift the object off the white of the eye with a moist swab, the damp corner of a tissue or a clean hanky for example.
- If this is still unsuccessful then seek medical help.
Objects under the upper eyelid:
- Ask the casualty to pull the upper lid down over the lower lid.
- The lower lashes may brush the object clear.
- Do not touch anything that is sticking to or embedded in the eyeball or the iris, the coloured part of the eye.
- Place an eye pad over the eye.
- Take or send the casualty to hospital.
- Wash and dry your own hands.
- Cover any cuts on your own hands and put on disposable gloves.
- Clean the cut, if dirty, under running water. Pat dry with a sterile dressing or clean lint-free material. If possible, raise affected area above the heart.
- Cover the cut temporarily while you clean the surrounding skin with soap and water and pat the surrounding skin dry. Cover the cut completely with a sterile dressing or plaster.
Put on disposable gloves.
Bleeding - apply direct pressureApply direct pressure to the wound with a pad (e.g. a clean cloth) or fingers until a sterile dressing is available.
Bleeding - raise the limbRaise and support the injured limb. Take particular care if you suspect a bone has been broken.
Bleeding - lay casuatly downLay the casualty down to treat for shock.
Bleeding - bandage woundBandage the pad or dressing firmly to control bleeding, but not so tightly that it stops the circulation to fingers or toes. If bleeding seeps through first bandage, cover with a second bandage. If bleeding continues to seep through bandage, remove it and reapply.
Treatment for shockTreat for shock.
Dialling 999Dial 999 for an ambulance.
Remember: protect yourself from infection by wearing disposable gloves and covering any wounds on your hands.
If blood comes through the dressing do not remove it – bandage another over the original.
If blood seeps through both dressings, remove them both and replace with a fresh dressing, applying pressure over the site of bleeding.
Objects in wounds
Where possible, swab or wash small objects out of the wound with clean water. If there is a large object embedded:
- Leave it in place.
- Apply firm pressure on either side of the object.
- Raise and support the wounded limb or part.
- Lay the casualty down to treat for shock.
- Gently cover the wound and object with a sterile dressing.
- Build up padding around the object until the padding is higher than the object, then bandage over the object without pressing on it.
- Depending on the severity of the bleeding, dial 999 for an ambulance or take the casualty to hospital.