8 Of The Worst Eye Injuries You Can Get

  • 1) Corneal Tear
    1 / 8 1) Corneal Tear

    The cornea is the thin, clear outer layer of your eyeball—the windshield of your eye. And when your cornea is swollen, a too-strong rub could tear it, McMonnies says. There are two distinct times when a lack of oxygen renders your cornea swollen, McMonnies adds: When you first wake up in the morning, and when you remove your contact lenses at night. Try not to rub at those times, he stresses. A tear is not only excruciatingly painful—like a pin stab in your eye—but it could render you blind. 

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  • 2) Globe Rupture
    2 / 8 2) Globe Rupture

    If a corneal tear is like a cracked windshield, a globe rupture is akin to a phone pole smashing through into your front seat. Whether a pointy tree branch or a buddy’s elbow does the damage, about 34 percent of all globe ruptures require the removal of the eyeball because of the blunt-force damage, according to one case report review from the University of Iowa. 

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  • 3) Bottle Shock
    3 / 8 3) Bottle Shock

    Answer truthfully: How many times have you popped the cap off a beer bottle using the edge of a table or desk? It seems like a good solution if you’re caught with a non-twist off cap and no opener, and the worst-case scenario is usually a little spilled foam, right? But glass splinters from broken glass bottles—along with whizzing caps or corks—account for roughly 1 percent of serious eye injuries, finds a study from the University of Alabama. 

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  • 4) Off Target
    4 / 8 4) Off Target

    In one 8-year period, a single UK hospital recorded 19 dart-related eye punctures, according to a study from the British Journal of Ophthalmology. Combine a crowded bar with alcohol and sharp, weight-y projectiles, and it’s a wonder half the guys you know haven’t ended up with a dart in the eye. 

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  • 5) Water Hazard
    5 / 8 5) Water Hazard

    Swimming in your contacts—or worse, storing your contacts in water—exposes them to microbes that could cling to your lenses, explains Thomas Steinemann, M.D., a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Some types of water organisms, like acanthamoeba, can cause ulcers in your corneas, as well as serious vision loss, Steinemann adds. 

    Related: Contact Lens Mistakes That People Commonly Make

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  • 6) It Burns!
    6 / 8 6) It Burns!

    Hydrofluoric acid is corrosive enough to dissolve glass. It’s also an ingredient used in some household rust removers. Lean in too close while you’re spraying a bike chain or axe blade, and you’re in for a sizzling experience, promises a review of hydrofluoric acid-related eye injuries in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

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  • 7) An Eye-Popping Experience
    7 / 8 7) An Eye-Popping Experience

    College basketball fans may remember Villanova star Allan Ray’s unfortunate meeting with an opposing player’s finger back in 2006. Whether your eye is poked out of its socket or knocked out by some type of blunt trauma—like a car accident—“globe luxation” is a surprisingly treatable condition if you act fast enough. In most cases, doctors can simply push your eye back into its socket and follow up with antibiotics to ward off infection, shows a study of dislocated eyeballs in the Emergency Medicine Journal

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  • 8) Permanent Shut-Eye
    8 / 8 8) Permanent Shut-Eye

    If you sleep in your contacts, you’re 10 to 15 times more likely to develop a bacterial infection. The worst is bacterial keratitis from a staph infection or some other type of organism, Dr. Steinemann says. This type of infection can cause blindness if not treated immediately, he adds. And in the case of the most aggressive bacteria, your eye’s cornea could be totally destroyed within 24 hours.

    (Warning signs are pain or light sensitivity that doesn’t go away soon after you remove your dried-out contacts, according to Mayo Clinic.) The simple solution: pop out your contacts so they can disinfect the right amount of time in solution and kill off nasty bacteria. 

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