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May 9, 1959


Author Affiliations

New York

From the New York Hospital—Cornell University Medical Center and the L. Margolyes League.

JAMA. 1959;170(2):172-175. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010020030009

Physicians who are not ophthalmologists sometimes are obliged to treat eye injuries either because of the nature of their practice or because the situation demands immediate medical care. The minimum equipment includes some form of magnifier, a source of light, and a treatment tray, the contents of which are here listed. Chemicals splashed into the eye must be removed by immediate washing if possible, and time should not be lost searching for appropriate neutralizers. Penetrating wounds of the cornea are dangerous, especially if they have perforated the lens or iris. If a corneal injury is too deep for immediate diagnosis or treatment, the eye should be covered and immobilized until expert attention can be given in favorable surroundings. The infrared radiation from an atomic flash, even at distances exceeding 70 km. (45 miles), can cause a choroidal burn before the blink reflex can close the eye. Safety measures to forestall injury are best, but when injury has occurred rational first aid minimizes later complications.