Schoolchildren are soon returning to their school desks. The Czech School Inspectorate says that more than 40,000 injuries occur in primary schools during the school year. Injuries to the limbs are the most frequently recorded, but the eyes are no exception.
Children face possible eye injuries in primary schools every day. Children over the age of ten are at greatest risk of injury, especially during puberty and adolescence. Up to one-third of pediatric emergency room visits are related to eye injuries.
According to Denisa Darsová, head of the children’s outpatient clinic at the Gemini Eye Clinic in Liberec, eye injuries occur frequently in the school environment. Common injuries include superficial corneal damage from incidents such as contact with a sheet of paper or a pencil, as well as blunt trauma to the eye during physical education or sports activities.
“When the eye is injured, we can see a changed shape of the originally round pupil and we can see a changed colour of the iris due to bleeding. However, the integrity of the eye remains intact and we are talking about closed eye injuries. Serious eye injuries in schoolchildren include mainly open eye injuries caused by careless handling of scissors, compasses or other sharp objects. Often we also encounter scarring in the macula, the place of sharpest vision, by shining the sharp light of a laser pointer directly into the eye,” Denisa Darsova listed.
While first aid is crucial, teachers may not always be familiar with the appropriate actions. “There are a few guidelines to follow when first treating an injured eye. Do not bandage or apply pressure to the injured eye. Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your child’s eyelids. Do not touch, press or massage the eye itself and try to avoid touching the injured eye as much as possible. It is important to avoid moving the injured eye. Do not attempt to remove the foreign body, except through flushing it with running water. Otherwise, the surface of the eye, especially the cornea, may become scratched. Any more serious injury to the eye must be examined by an ophthalmologist to ensure that there is no deeper damage,” said Pavel Stodůlka, head of the Gemini eye clinic network.