Kids will be playing outside a lot this summer and there’s a chance they could get dirt in their eyes. What should you do if they do? Dr. Elliot McKee of Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A. joins us this month to discuss what happens if dirt gets in your kids’ eyes.
What damage can dirt do if it gets in the eye?
Getting dirt, sand, or any other foreign object in the eye can cause a scratch on the surface of the clear covering of the eye. This is known as a corneal abrasion. This is very painful and can lead to an eye infection.
What might happen if a child rubs their eye to get the dirt out?
Rubbing the eye can make the piece of dirt or sand scratch repeatedly against the surface of the eye, causing multiple abrasions. It is best to not rub the eye if something gets in it, but rather to wash the eye out with water.
Can chemicals like fertilizer or weed killer in the dirt affect a child’s eyes? What other chemicals should parents and children be aware of?
Products that contain ammonia, such as fertilizers or cleaning products, are extremely dangerous to the eye and can cause blindness. Other dangerous household chemicals include chlorine (for pool cleaning) and lye (in certain soap products).
What should a parent do if their child gets dirt in their eye or they suspect their child’s eye was exposed to chemicals? Should they rinse it out themselves?
If dirt or chemicals enter the eye, it is important to rinse the eye immediately with water for several minutes.
Do parents need to bring their children to the hospital or emergency room if they hurt their eyes, or can a specialist service like CEENTA treat them?
If an eye injury occurs, you should immediately get help from an ophthalmologist or emergency department. If the injury is limited to the eye, you can call our office at 704-295-3000 and one of our eye care providers can examine your child and determine what kind of treatment is needed.
What might that treatment entail?
Treatment for mild eye injuries often includes eye drops or eye ointment. For severe injuries, surgery is sometimes required.
When is it important for a child to wear eye protection?
Eye protection should be worn anytime there is a risk of objects hitting the eye with high velocity, such as when playing sports with small balls.
Dr. McKee is a comprehensive ophthalmologist who attended the University of Missouri for his undergraduate degree and Saint Louis University for his medical degree. His internship was at Indiana University Health, Methodist Hospital, his ophthalmology residency was at Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute, Indiana University School of Medicine, and his pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus fellowship was at Duke Eye Center at Duke University School of Medicine. He practices in our SouthPark, Belmont, and Statesville offices.