How to treat an eye injury

If this is an emergency, please call 000 immediately.

What is an eye injury?

Act with extreme urgency (within seconds) if it is a heat or chemical burn.

The eyes are the most sensitive and delicate organs in the body and are easily injured. An eye injury is a trauma or damage to the eye caused by a direct blow to the eye.

This guide is regularly updated and aligns with the current edition of Australian First Aid (4th edition, 7/2011)

Signs and Symptoms


  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Wateriness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Swollen or spasming eyelids
  • Bleeding
  • Inability to open the eye
  • Injuries around the eye


What to do




Do not try to remove an object that is embedded in, or protruding from, the eye.


Cover the injured eye only, with one or more sterile pads, avoiding any protruding object.


Do not put direct pressure on the eyeball.


Help the patient to lie down in a comfortable position on their back.


Ask the patient to try not to move their eyes.


Seek medical aid.



Eye injuries fact sheet

DRSABCD poster

Related advice

Spinal and neck injuries

In the case of suspected neck or spinal injury, it’s imperative not to move the patient. If the patient is unconscious as a result of a head injury, you should always suspect a spinal injury.

Smoke in your eyes

Exposure to smoke and harmful or poisonous gases and chemicals can lead to eye irritation, pain and discomfort. Here’s how to treat smoke or embers in your eyes.


This fact sheet identifies the signs and symptoms of concussion, and outlines the steps you can take to treat someone who you suspect has a concussion.

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