Major Eye Injuries – Blunt Trauma to the Eye
The eye is susceptible to direct knocks e.g., sporting balls, fistfight, finger poke, traffic accident, workplace tools, etc. These injuries are characterised by blood in the eye, penetrating objects, and disturbance of vision, protrusion of eye contents and severe pain and spasms. Also, the casualty may be seeing ‘black spots’ in their vision that move when the eye moves. Casualty care, in this case, is critical and should be left to the experts.
First Aid Treatment
- Follow DRS ABCD – Call 000
- Rest casualty in a semi-sitting position and reassure
- Ask the casualty to keep the injured eye closed
- Place a cool damp cloth onto the injured eye
- Cover the injured eye with a sterile eye pad and gently secure it into place using a bandage or hypoallergenic tape
- Monitor casualty until the arrival of medical personnel
Minor Eye Injuries – Foreign Body in the Eye
Flicking sand, sawdust, flying slivers of wood, metal particles, glass shards, stone, grit and other material are notorious for causing eye injuries when projected into the eye. It is characterized by a bloodshot eye, irritation and an urge to rub the eye.
- Follow DRS ABCD
- Use a clean wet cloth to remove any particles from the area surrounding the eye
- If the small foreign object is visible, use a damp cotton swab to remove
- If not removed, flush the eye with a steady constant stream using saline or clean water. Tilt the casualty’s head, while gently pulling the eyelid as you flush the eye
- If the lodged object can’t be removed, cover the injured eye with a sterile eye pad and gently secure it into place using a bandage or hypoallergenic tape
- Seek medical attention
Foreign Body in the Ear
The skin in the ear canal and the eardrum is very sensitive. Any inflammation or injury is usually readily apparent due to pain or irritation.
Most objects that get stuck in the ear canal are placed there by the person themselves. Children who are curious about their bodies and interesting objects are the group most often have this problem (children aged 9 months to 8 years).
Insects can also fly or crawl into the ear canal. Usually, this happens while sleeping on the floor or outdoors (for example, camping). This is often a frightening and dramatic event as the insect’s buzzing and movement are very loud and sometimes painful.
- If the item is very small, have the casualty lay on their side, ear facing down. Gently pull the back of the ear toward the back of the head (straightens out the ear canal) With gravity to help, the object may fall or roll out.
- If an insect, shine a bright light into the ear, to encourage the insect to escape. If unsuccessful, lay casualty on their side, ear facing up, and drizzle clean vegetable oil or baby oil into the ear. Allow to settle for 15 sec, then tip the oil out. Insects will often come out with the oil. If you suspect that the insect is dead, you may be able to flush it out of the ear using warm water and a syringe (without the needle).
- Do not strike the head on the opposite side to try to dislodge the stuck item
- Do not use any items such as tweezers, or cotton buds to probe into the ear Seek medical attention immediately when:
- The Casualty has the following symptoms: The ear is swollen (inflamed), red and displaced outward, fever, discharge, bleeding, or increasing pain
- If the object in the ear is a battery
- You were unsuccessful in removing the object/insect
Signs and Symptoms
- Hearing loss
- Ringing sound in the ear (tinnitus)
- Loss of balance, spinning sensation (vertigo)
- Watery, bloody, or pus-filled fluids draining from the ear
- Severe pain
First Aid Treatment
- Place sterile cotton gently in the outer ear canal to keep the inside of the ear clean
- Assist the casualty into a position of most comfort, with their injured ear tilted towards the ground
- Get urgent medical help
- Do not block any drainage coming from the ear
- Do not put any liquid into the ear
- Do not try to clean or wash the inside of the ear canal.
Cuts on the outer ear
Apply direct pressure until the bleeding stops.
- Cover the injury with a sterile dressing shaped to the contour of the ear, and tape it loosely in place
- Apply cold compresses over the dressing to reduce pain and swelling
- If part of the ear has been cut off, keep the part. Get medical help right away
- Refer to Module 5.2 on how to manage the amputated part