What to Do When You Scratch Your Eye

Did you know that sports and housework are two of the most common causes of eye injuries? As we continue to highlight Sports Eye Safety Month, we’re providing practical advice on what to do if you are injured and scratch your eye. It’s important to know what a scratched eye feels like, how to treat it, and what you can do at home to prevent further injuries. Read on for more!

What Does a Scratched Eye Feel Like?

Depending on the type of injury you experience, you may not even realize that you have a scratched eye. In some injuries symptoms will appear immediately, while in others there will be minimal (if any) symptoms that will develop or worsen over time.

If you sustain an injury and believe you could have a scratched eye, look out for these symptoms:

  • Eye pain
  • Feeling that something is stuck in your eye
  • Tearing
  • Spot of blood, scratched line, or an area of general redness (if you scratched the white part of your eye)

For a more traumatic injury, including scratching or scraping the cornea of the eye, look out for these more severe symptoms:

  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Headache

For any injury involving a potentially scratched eye, we’ll walk through what to do and how to address these symptoms.

What Should I Do for Treatment?

After experiencing an eye injury, the first thing to do is see an ophthalmologist as quickly as possible. Especially for a severe injury, like a corneal abrasion, an ophthalmologist can assess and advise on the optimal treatment plan to avoid permanent vision issues. If you are in a lot of pain, having trouble seeing, or are worried about your eye and unable to see an ophthalmologist quickly, we recommend heading to the emergency room for immediate assessment. Emergency room physicians can advise on an initial treatment plan before you get into an ophthalmologist.

When caring for an injured eye, there are recommend “do’s and don’ts” to consider within your treatment plan:

  • Do blink – Blinking helps to get rid of small bits of dust or sand in the eye, which could negatively impact the healing process
  • Do wear sunglasses – If you are experiencing heightened sensitivity to light from the injury, sunglasses can make the healing process more comfortable and protect the eye from further damage
  • Don’t rub your eye – Rubbing the eye can actually make the injury worse, so it is important to not rub your eyes until an ophthalmologist has confirmed that the scratch is healed
  • Don’t wear contact lenses – Contact lenses can slow the healing process, and could also cause complications like eye infections. Wait until an ophthalmologist gives you the green light to begin wearing contacts again

How Can I Prevent Eye Scratches?

Wearing protective eyewear is one of the most critical steps you can take to avoid eye injuries. Certified protective eyewear, particularly for sports, provides a layer of reassurance when playing sports and can help in preventing serious eye injuries.

It is also recommended to stay on schedule for comprehensive eye exams with your ophthalmologist. Having your ophthalmologist regularly check your eyesight allows them to assess if there are any injuries to your eye, and the best course of action to protect your eyes too. Our expert team at ReFocus Eye Health is here to provide comprehensive eye exams – and eye injury treatments – in your community. Learn more here.