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What are symptoms of an eye injury?

Eye injuries include any damage to the eye itself, or the surrounding skin or tissue. Eye injuries may include tears, punctures or scratches and may be caused by caustic chemicals or foreign objects in the eye, a burn or a direct hit to the eye. While minor eye irritations can sometimes be treated at home, more serious eye injuries should be treated by a doctor or emergency care provider promptly to prevent further eye damage or vision loss. Symptoms of an eye injury include:

  • Redness, bleeding or other outward signs of injury
  • Pain or burning
  • Discharge, tearing or weeping from the eye
  • Swelling or bruising
  • Difficulty opening the eye, or keeping it open (sensitive to light)
  • Blurred vision or other vision problems
  • Rubbing or pulling at the eye

If you see flashes of light following an eye injury, it is a sign of retinal detachment. Another sign is seeing a curtain fall over your vision. The retina is an important part of the eye that makes vision possible, and retinal detachment can cause vision problems. Any blow to the eye can cause retinal detachment, but athletes who are nearsighted seem to be more at risk.

(This answer provided for NATA by the Georgia College & State University Athletic Training Education Program.)

The symptoms of an eye injury include tearing, pain, vision changes (double vision and blurry vision, for example), red or pink eye, blood in the eye and a sensation of something in the eye. It's crucial to maintain your eyesight, so see your healthcare professional for any concerns regarding your eyes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.