The eyes are sensitive areas of the body which are easily susceptible to infection. Any serious injury to this area could potentially lead to a loss of sight. Therefore it is important to apply the correct type of first aid treatment to minimise further damage and to promote a recovery within the eye.


There are many different types of eye injury and the treatment process can vary between them, but you may find the following items useful when treating a casualty:
  • Disposable gloves
  • Clean tap water 
  • Clean cup or bottle
  • Eye wash kit
  • Eye pad (dressing)
  • Gauze pad

Foreign Object

Dust, grit, sand and mud can sometimes enter the eye and cause irritation. When helping someone in this situation always advise them not to rub the eye as this can make the situation worse. Then apply the following three step treatment protocol:
  1. Stand behind them and gently open their eyelids and ask them to look up, down, right and left in order to expose what is irritating the eye
  2. If you see something, gently tilt their head back and pour clean tap water into the inner corner of the eye
  3. If this is not working and you can see something on the surface of the eye, then get a moist piece of gauze and remove the object by making a gentle connection with it
Helpful hint - Eye wash kits can replace tap water and often come ready to use so there is not a need for a cup or bottle

Impact injury

Impact injuries to the eye can vary depending on the nature of the force and the object involved. In serious instances it can relate to serious or permanent sight loss. Look out for the following signs and symptoms:
  • Bloodshot appearance to the eye
  • Bleeding from the eye
  • Casualty reporting sight loss 
  • May also lose balance / orientation
The main treatment protocol is to ensure no further damage occurs and to minimise the risk of infection. Use the eye pad within the first aid kit to cover the eye. In more serious cases where the eye has partially or fully come out of it’s socket it may be necessary to apply pressure to the eye using a bandage or clean cloth.

Always transfer the casualty to Accident & Emergency (A&E) or call 999 / 112 for an ambulance when both eyes are affected, or if the casualty is showing signs of going into shock.

Chemical Burn

Chemical burns to the eye can occur at random through household cleaning products and for those who work with chemicals within the workplace. Once established that a chemical burn is affecting the eye it is important to following the below treatment protocol:
  1. Ensure the casualty does not rub the eye
  2. Get them into a seated position, tilt the head back and gently pour clean tap water into the eye
  3. Ensure there is a gentle flow of water going into the eye for a minimum of 20 minutes
Important - Read the product label and never pour water into the eye of a chemical that reacts adversely to water

If the eye is not showing improvement after 24 hours, or if there is any sign of infection, then visit your GP or call 111.