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Facts and Myths About Eye Pads 

When you sustain an eye injury, certain injuries may require you to wear an eye pad/patch.

In this article, I discuss important eye pad facts and the best ways to carefully treat your eye injury!

Facts you need to know about eye pads 

Short answer: an eye pad is a sterile piece of fabric for medical purposes, used to cover and protect the eyes during injury. 

  • There are a variety of injuries that may require an eye pad; e.g trauma, penetration or substance entry/irritation (like smoke). 
  • Follow the first aid steps in this article, depending on the injury. 
  • Take proper care of the eye; ensure you apply no pressure throughout the healing process. Carefully protect the eye from further injury/trauma. 
  • Wear the eye pad until necessary.
Eye Pad

What is an Eyepad? 

Experiencing an injury/trauma to the eye can be both an unpleasant experience and an unpleasant sight (no pun intended!).

It is, quite literally, an eye sore.

For this reason, depending on the injury to the eye and the severity - you may be required to wear an eye pad.

  • An eye pad is a sterile pad/dressing designed specifically for the size and area of the eye. 
  • It is applied directly and worn over the eye to absorb any fluids or liquids that may be discharged from the injury. 
  • This includes blood, tears/substances and fluid secretions. 

  • It also serves to keep it protected. 

There are a variety of reasons that a person may need to wear an eye pad.

Discharge may also be present in these scenarios.

For this reason, fabric is required to absorb any liquids that may be present.

The eye pad helps to wick any fluids away, ensuring that the area is clean and unbothered.

First Aid Treatment For an Eye Injury 

The eyes are a very crucial and sensitive part of the body, and it is important to properly and carefully care for eye injuries.

The first step will be to ensure that the eye is properly covered.

Your doctor will likely let you know if it is necessary to wear an eye pad, or have you fitted with one upon receiving first aid treatment.

The type of treatment steps you take will also depend on the type of injury.

Possible injuries include: 

  • Burns to the eye
  • Trauma/impact resulting in eye injury 
  • An object becoming embedded or stuck in the eye (resulting in injury and infection risk) 
  • A common example of this occurrence can be a splinter or sharp object entering/penetrating the eye. 

  • Chemical/substance entry, or an exposure that causes irritation or damage to the eye; (such as welder’s flash) 
  • Wounds to the eye of any kind 
  • Smoke in the eyes (which can result in irritation). 

Below are the first aid treatment steps for an eye injury: 

Burns

  • Wash the eye, using cool and running water. Do this for a minimum of 20 minutes. 
  • Try to gently hold the eyelid open/ensure the eye is open whilst doing this, to properly cleanse it. 

  • Take an eyepad, and gently bandage the eye. 
  • Tip: If you don’t have an eye pad on hand, you may also be able to use any type of sterile and clean dressing; but ensure it is light as opposed to heavy, to prevent applying too much pressure. 

  • Seek medical attention (ring an ambulance). 
  • The person may require additional treatment. Burns to the eye are one of the critical areas that should be evaluated to ensure proper monitoring.

Penetration injuries (embedded items in the eye) 

How these types of injuries are treated depends on how severe the injury itself is.

For example: a small poke/entry to the eye (such as debris blowing in the wind) is very different to having a sharp or large item entering and becoming stuck in the eye.

Minimal entries/minor injuries: 

  • It is ideal to have somebody remove this for you, as they will be in a better position to assist. Instruct the person to raise their eyes, looking up as far as they can. 
  • Gently tug/pull the lower eyelid downwards; exposing the eye. Look to see if you can observe the object. 
  • Remove anything present, using the corner of a clean and moist cloth. 

If you can not view the object: 

  • Attempt an eye wash. Use clean water, or if none is present, saline solution is a sufficient option (but ensure it is sterile). 
  • Wash and rinse the eye, attempting to dislodge any debris. 
  • If you still can not remove the object, cover the eye with an eye patch and seek medical attention. 

You may need specialised removal/assistance. 

Serious embedding/deeply stuck or penetrating objects: 

  • Either cover the stuck item with a paper cup, or place thick pads both above and underneath the affected eye and secure them with a bandage. 
  • Padding around the eyes can help with pressure. 

  • Do not put any pressure on the eye when doing this, nor remove anything. 
  • Ring an ambulance immediately. 
Eye Pad

Major injuries/trauma: 

  • Make sure the eye is kept closed. Instruct the person not to move/roll it. Keep them still and rested, avoiding head movement. 
  • Cover the eye with a clean eye pad/dressing.
  • Seek medical attention. 
  • Make sure the person is otherwise stable, performing additional first aid if needed (e.g a fall/concussion). 

Smoke and other: 

  • Wash the eyes using clean water (or sterile saline) 
  • Seek medical attention, depending on severity; such as severe/ongoing irritation.  

Now that we have discussed what to do, let’s reframe the important things not to do. 

  • Do not remove objects embedded inside the eye. This includes inside the eye/deeply stuck. 
  • Do not be rough. Be gentle when handling the eye. Avoid application of pressure/harsh touch. 
  • Don’t touch the eye directly, and ensure you do not rub it (if you are treating a person, instruct them not to do so). 

How to Care For an Eye Injury 

After you have properly followed the first aid steps for your eye injury, it is very important to ensure that you keep the eye safe and protected.

The last thing you want after ensuring a trauma to the eye is further impact, or disturbance to the area.

Preventing further injury:

  • Preventing further injury:
  • Wear eye protection always; such as when dealing with welding, sports or flying objects/debris. 

Sport can be a common instance in which blunt direct trauma may occur to the eye.

Take softball/baseball for example.

Wear proper protective sporting gear when playing sports.

  • Also ensure you stay away from work areas, debris exposure and take proper precautions. Examples include: lawn mowing, workplaces or construction/building sites. 
  • Welder’s flash can also cause injury. 

    • Take proper care when welding. 
    • Make sure your eyes are protected and never directly exposed. 
    • Be careful around machinery, and handle it with the proper precautions; such as in a workshop setting.
  • Be aware of dust, sand and smoke. Wear protective eyewear or a face shield if needed. 
  • If you are in a fire or a smokey environment, ensure your eyes are properly protected. 

  • Cut sharp objects in a vertical direction (not upward - to prevent stabbing the eye). 
  • Avoid low hanging branches, and stay carefully aware of your surroundings when navigating. 
  • This can help to prevent you walking into things or having objects enter your eye. 

  • Take extra care in a windy setting. Consider wearing something to protect your eyes, or seeking shelter/going inside if needed. 

When to Use an Eyepad 

In an earlier section, we covered some of the most common instances in which an eye pad will likely be recommended or provided for an injury.

Eye injuries should also be treated immediately.

Applications in which an eye pad may be necessary include:

  • Trauma/direct force having occurred to the eye; resulting in bruising, injury or impact. 
  • Protection of the eye post a surgical procedure. 
  • Situations in which it is necessary to keep the eye closed or rest it the most possible (such as a haemorrhage) 
  • Experiencing a scratch or injury of any kind to the eye, which requires protection. 
  • Any situation in which ongoing protection/coverage is required for healing or fluid absorption. 

You will need to wear the pad as the wound heals. 

Eye Pad

Related Questions:

Where can I buy eye pads?

Most first aid shops will stock eye pads, both online and in-store.

Major chemists may also have them.

When to seek medical attention? 

You should always seek medical attention in the case of a severe eye injury.

This includes severe burns, trauma/force, penetration (stuck objects) or chemical splashes/substances.

Takeaway: 

This article covered important eye pad facts, alongside the first aid steps for one of the most important parts of your body; your eyes!

Always seek medical attention in case of a severe injury.

Follow the steps and apply an eye pad where necessary.

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