Eye injuries: Foreign object in the eye

Work accidents occasionally result in foreign objects being lodged in workers’ eyes. Such objects may consist of tiny bits of grit, glass, wood, or metal, for instance. Often intensely painful, accidental injuries like this can, if not dealt with as quickly as possible, lead to partial or complete, temporary or permanent, loss of sight.

Symptoms of eye injuries involving a foreign object

When a foreign object is present in the eye after a workplace accident, the affected individual may experience one or all of the following symptoms:

  • Sensation of something being in the eye
  • Increased tear production
  • Light sensitivity
  • Potentially severe eye pain
  • Double or blurred vision

Depending on the size of the object, it may be visible on the cornea (transparent cover on front of eye) and, if it is metal, may cause typically rust-coloured staining.

Potential complications of accidents at work

Pieces of grit, glass or metal, even wood or plastic, may cause more serious personal injuries by actually damaging the cornea. Corneal abrasions or lacerations may add to the symptoms of this type of eye injury with bleeding; squinting caused by spasms in the muscle that surrounds the eye, or a feeling that something is there even after the object has been removed.

Seeking medical advice

Workers injured by foreign bodies in the eye should immediately seek medical assistance if:

  • The foreign body cannot be washed out
  • Eye pain is severe and persistent
  • Vision is blurred or decreased
  • There is redness, especially if present around the iris
  • There are dark shapes, spots, or flashing spots of light in their field of vision

In addition to potentially preventing a workrelated eye injury leading to blindness, seeking medical assistance also ensures that the injury and necessary treatments and medications are documented within medical records. This is of importance if the injury was someone else’s fault and the worker wishes to claim for work injury compensation.

Industrial injury claims

Employers have a duty to ensure workers can perform their jobs safely. This includes providing appropriate training and protective equipment, such as, for instance, goggles or face shields for tasks involving the potential of eye injuries. Employees are required to wear provided safety gear and act responsibly. Should you be injured at work because your employer or colleagues have not provided safety equipment or followed procedures, you can claim for compensation by calling Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500. The legal assistance provided by this law firm is offered on a no win, no fee* basis.

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