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Eye Irritations & Injuries

As you age, your eyes can get irritated more easily because they make less tears. Poorer vision increases the risk for eye injuries.

Signs &




Self-Care /

First Aid

When to Seek

Medical Care

You feel burning, dryness, itching, and/or pain and swelling in one or both eyes.

Image of irritated eye.

For Eye Irritation:

Causes include particles in the eye; too much sun exposure, low humidity; strong wind; and scratches from contact lenses. Other causes are allergies, infections, and conditions that make your eyes dry.

For Eye Injuries:

Causes include a physical blow to the eye; harsh chemicals; and a foreign body that is stuck in the eye.


Mild eye irritations and injuries can be treated with self-care. More serious problems need medical care.

Image of women with eye patch.
Image of women wearing safety glasses.

•  Wear safety glasses for activities that expose your eyes to sawdust, etc.

•  When using harsh chemicals, wear rubber gloves and protective glasses. Don’t rub your eyes if you’ve touched harsh chemicals. Turn your head away from chemical vapors.

•  To help prevent dry eyes, use a humidifier and limit exposure to smoke, dust, and wind. Avoid alcohol.

•  Use artificial tear drops with your doctor’s okay.

•  Don’t stare directly at the sun, especially during a solar eclipse.

•  Wear sunglasses that block UV rays.

•  Don’t use eye makeup when an allergy or chemical irritant bothers your eye(s).

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.


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