Traumatic Eye Injuries in Children (For Parents, Teachers and Guardians of kids)
Today, we will be discussing eye injuries in Children, and how to take measures. This is specifically intended to reach out to parents and guardians of kids at home and as well the teachers and attendants in school and other children’s social gatherings.
Eye trauma simply refers to physical injury to the eye from accident, impact, or violence. It can happen to anyone, both adult and child, male and female, the careful and the careless.
Who is a Child?
Oxford dictionary says a “child” is a human being below the age of puberty or below the legal age of maturity. It also defines a child as immature or irresponsible person.
W.H.O. classifies a child as “a human being below the ages of 18 years and under the law applicable to a child, majority is attained earlier”.
I had to bring in these definitions of a child to give us an understanding of what responsibility a parent, guardian, adult sibling, schoolteacher, or attendant has and how important it is.
TYPES OF EYE INJURIES
There are two main types of physical eye injuries.
- Blunt Injury (Blunt force trauma): this type of injury that occurs when there is a direct blow or strike by an object to the eye often resulting to deep cuts or fracture of the eyes structures. It may also not result in any cuts or fracture.
- Penetrating injury (penetrating Trauma): this refers to when an object pierces through the external surface of the eye and usually creating an open wound.
There are about 4 resulting injuries because of eye trauma namely, orbital fractures, penetrating injury on any part of the eye, corneal abrasions and/or lacerations, and retinal detachment. I am not going to talk about these today but will discuss the necessary things about eye injuries in Children.
WHEN SHOULD I BE CONCERNED OR WORRIED ABOUT A CHILD’S EYE INJURY?
You should be concerned when the child screams and cries from an impact or accident, not necessarily only to the eyes and examine the eyes as well as the other body parts. This is to confirm the area of impact for pains and deformity if present. I have come up with a few general observations that should help discover any kind of eye injury that may have adverse effects or complications.
- Swollen eyes
- Eye discomfort
- Redness in the eye
- Noticeable change in vision for children who can express themselves and are observant.
- Torn eye lids
- Deep aches around the eye and brow one examination by the guardian and parent.
WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN THERE IS AN EYE INJURY IN A CHILD?
There are some approaches one should take after recognizing an eye injury and not knowing the full extent of the implications of such injury. This can help prevent more complications and more injuries on the eye.
- Do not allow the child to rub the eyes immediately after an eye injury in case there is a penetrating stuck object.
- Gently wash the face with water to remove dirt if seen on the face or on the eye.
- Clean the area on the eye that has wound or injury.
- Patch or cover the eye if the eye is bleeding from inside out.
- Apply ice compress on the part of the eye in cases of blunt trauma with no physical wound or laceration.
- Visit your Eye doctor for emergency when there is a penetrating object injury, bleeding in the eye, rapid swelling of the eyelids and surrounding body part.
WHAT OBJECTS ARE A POTENTIAL CAUSE OF EYE INJURY IN CHILDREN?
There are objects or even furniture that are potential hazards when there is a child within. Such objects are to be removed or there is very astute adult observing and keeping watch. Some toys are also a source of eye injuries and parents should be discouraged from allowing their children have access to them.
- Any sharp object or toy that has sharp edges that can cause injury such as nails, pins, pebbles, small stones, etc.
- Stainless steel utensils/cutleries.
- Furniture that has sharp edges. Eg. Square center wooden table, square wooden chairs, square wooden beds.
- Breakable objects such as ceramic and glass products.
WHY DO I NEED TO TAKE MY CHILD TO SEE AN EYE DOCTOR WHEN THERE IS AN EYE INJURY?
We cannot over emphasize the importance of eye examinations in Children and the implications of neglecting or rejecting such an idea. Eye examination in Children is vital in Children development stage.
When your child is involved an accident or impact and there is injury to the eyes, it is very important that the injured eye is examined, and proper investigations are carried out to ensure that there are no complications as a result.
Eye injuries or trauma can lead to eventual vision loss, vision impairment or even facial deformity that will affect lifestyle or development into adulthood.
HOW TO PREVENT OR REDUCE OCCURRENCE OF EYE INJURIES IN CHILDREN?
The following are some of the preventive measures that will drastically reduce or totally avoid occurrence of Eye injuries in Children especially for toddlers and children under the age of 10 years
- Ensure that there is an adult observer or an attendant within a good distance to able to interfere before injury happens.
- Avoid any sharp object either as a toy or furniture with sharp edges within the playground of the child.
- Discourage the child from potentially harmful play or games.
- Prevent the child from entering unapproved places for children such as tools store, kitchen, slippery and wet floors, etc.
OTHER HAZARDS THAT CAN POTENTIALLY CAUSE HARM TO CHILDREN
- Exposure to corrosive liquids.
- Exposure to naked wire or electric current.
- Swallowing of hard objects that are not edible.
In conclusion, children are quite inquisitive, curious, and are always on the move, to do things. Therefore, there lies the responsibility to ensure that they enjoy their play, explore, and harness their inquisitiveness and curiosity in safe and adequate environments for their development and learning.