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Cut on Eyelid – What Causes Eye Lacerations and Injuries?

September 24, 2021 | Hortencia Luna-Gonzales, MD, FACEP

Cut on eyelid, or eye lacerations, are alarming and potentially very painful injuries that can lead to serious complications if left untreated. However, small cut on eyelid are minor injuries that may be treated at home. But how can you know if your particular injury is serious enough to require emergency medical treatment? If you are wondering what to do if you have a cut on your eyelid, keep reading. From causes to treatment and recovery—we’ll tell you everything that you need to know!

types of eyelid injuries

Types of Eyelid Injuries

As with any injury, there are different types of cuts on or around the eyelids. Here are some common eye injuries that people suffer from:

Eyelid bruises

  • Eyelid bruises, also known as black eyes, are the appearance of bruising around the eye resulting from trauma. This is most commonly caused by a blow to the head or eye area, but could also be caused by internal damage. Regardless of whether or not you know the cause of your black eye, it’s best to get it checked to ensure you don’t have internal bleeding or a concussion. 

Eyelid scratch or cut

  • For the most part, this kind of injury will heal on its own if it’s just a small cut on eyelids. However, a deeper, larger cut is likely to require medical attention. 

Corneal abrasion

  • A corneal abrasion is a scratch on the cornea of the eye. This type of injury usually results in intense eye pain and excessive blinking, along with the sensation of tearing on the surface of the eye. There are many causes for corneal abrasion, but they often occur as the result of something small stuck underneath the upper eyelid

Acute hyphema 

  • This serious injury presents as bleeding in the space between the cornea and the iris. Caused only by a hard blunt trauma, it’s important to get this type of injury inspected by an emergency physician as soon as possible. 

Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

  • A subconjunctival hemorrhage is a flame-shaped, bright red bruise on the white part of the eye often stretching to the tear ducts. It’s caused by a scratch to the area and is a mild injury that typically will go away on its own over 2 weeks.

causes for eyelid cuts

What Causes Small Cuts on the Eyelids?

There are lots of different ways to get a cut on your eyelid. Running into a branch, taking a bad fall, or accidentally scratching yourself with your nails can result in small cuts along the eyelid; however, these kinds of eyelid lacerations are common and generally do not need medical attention. 

stitches for eyelid cuts

Does Cut on Eyelid Need Stitches?

Although eyelid cuts rarely require emergency medical advice, you should pay close attention to your wound. If it bleeds excessively, is particularly deep, or seems to stem from some other condition, it may be in your best interest to seek emergency medical treatment. Additionally, should you have any concerns that your injury might damage the muscle around the eye or cause drooping of the eyelid, there is likely something more serious going on.

treating eye cuts at home

Treating an Eyelid Cut at Home

To take care of your eye wound at home, the first thing you need to do is clean both your hands and the affected area with soap and water. If your injury is still bleeding, put gentle pressure on the wound or use a topical hemostatic like Gelfoam to stop the bleeding. Then, you’ll need to dress the wound with a petroleum-based antibacterial and cover it with a small bandage.

Don’t Wait for Emergency Care

Where your eye or eyelid is concerned, it’s best not to take risks. Depending on what type of injury you have, you may need to seek professional medical treatment immediately to ensure that there is no permanent damage to your vision. To ensure that you don’t allow an injury that can result in loss of vision, it’s important to understand each common type of injury. If you feel like your small cut may result to a serious condition, fast care is always the best way to ensure good healing, so find an emergency room near you today!

Hortencia Luna-Gonzales, MD, FACEP blog author

Hortencia Luna-Gonzales, MD, FACEP

Dr. Luna has been practicing Emergency Medicine and Pediatric Emergency Medicine for more than 37 years. She has held multiple Physician leadership positions as the Medical Director for Emergency and Trauma Services for more than 20 hospital systems in both California and Texas.