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Common Eye Injuries in Children

Mark Stradling, D.O. Comprehensive Ophthalmology and Cataract Surgery

Kids are amazing!  So much happens in such a little time in their bodies and their eyes are no exception.  Kids are naturally curious about their bodies as well as the world around them.  They are also very playful.  This fun combination sometimes however, can have some not so fun outcomes.  In their younger years, as they are learning to walk, bumping into things is common.  This is what I call "table height syndrome."  They are about as tall as the table in their environment and not quite the experts at walking that they might believe they are, and bump into the table at eye level.  This can cause bruising around the eyes, sometimes causing abrasions to the eye, and sometimes bleeding around the white part of the eye (the sclera).  This bleeding looks really bad, but it's the same as any other bruise and will typically have no long term effects to the eye.  

Unfortunately, sharp objects play a part of our children's world.  Fingers, pencils, sticks, tree branches, utensils, broken objects, toys, along with many other objects are all possible sources of injury to the eye.  It's always better to have the eye evaluated by an eye care professional to determine the seriousness of the injury.  The cornea is the most sensitive part of the body and as such it doesn't take much to cause a lot of irritation and pain – especially if there's a scratch.   For older kids the most common injuries deal with blunt trauma (sports balls, elbows, fists) that can cause a fracture to the eye socket.  This can cause difficulties in moving the eye, along with possible double vision, and/or pain. 

Contact lenses are also a source of injury for older kids.  Sometimes the eye can get scratched with removal of the contact lens.  Sometimes people sleep with their contact lenses in, which is strongly discouraged for the risk of developing a corneal ulcer.  Contact lenses also should never be worn while swimming – particularly in fresh water or the ocean due the different microbes that can get trapped underneath the contact and destroy the eye.   Any injury to the eye should be evaluated to ensure that there is nothing hidden that could cause permanent vision loss.  If you or your child gets any type of eye injury, give us a call so that we can properly assess it.  

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