Sunday, February 10, 2013

Chicken vs Eye


I was sitting outside when one of my chickens jumped up on my lap looking for a treat. I did not have a treat to give her. I was looking at her and she was looking at me. She then poked me in my left eye. Chickens are FAST and their strong with their pokes and they are not known for having clean beaks. My whole eye is bloodshot and there was a small pool of blood gathered at the bottom of my eye. I flushed it with saline solution. I can see and it doesn't appear that my eyeball itself is bleeding (except for the fact it is totally red and bloodshot). It doesn't seem to have changed my vision. It's not bleeding anymore though I am not sure where the blood came from as I can't seem to find where the actual wound is. My eye feels like there is something in it but like I said, I can't find the actual wound. It's not really painful but only feels like there is something in my eye.

My question is, is cleaning it with saline solution a good antiseptic? I flushed it for a good 3 minutes (I'm soaked as the solution ran down my face, neck, etc.) What are signs of infection in case I need to be seen?

 Gender: Female
 How tall are you (feet and inches)?: 5"3
 What is your weight in pounds?: 125
 How old are you?: 53
 How long has this been going on?: A few days
 Check all symptoms you are currently experiencing: Eye

 What have you done so far to remedy this condition? Please include tests and relevant studies here.
 Cleaned it with saline solution.

 Please list any chronic medical problems and also list any prior surgery (lacerations don't count!): High blood pressure.

 Check all conditions present in your immediate family... :
 Cardiac Disease
 Please list any medication allergies that you have : : none.
 Please list any medications you are currently taking (and dosage if known) :: Atenolol (50 mg)
 Hydrochlorothiazide (50 mg)

 When was your last menstrual cycle?: I no longer have a menstrual cycle
 Are you currently using or do you have a history of tobacco use?: No
 Are you currently using or do you have a history of illegal drug use?: No
 Please describe your alcohol consumption :: Rarely

How likely is an infection to my eye despite cleaning it with saline solution? Any other home remedies I should consider? So I am looking for something I should keep a lookout for in case I do need to be seen.

This all took place about an hour or so ago. I stated a "few days" above as your system would not allow me to enter "started today." It repeatedly gave me an error message that I need to enter a value. So while I stated "a few days," that is incorrect. Thanks!

First of all, a prize to you for asking the most unique question to date on our little site here.

Secondly, you are correct to be concerned, and, correct as well that a doctor's FIRST question will be 'how is your vision', and, yours, so far, is unaffected.

Thirdly, and this may go to four, five, six etc... There is no way at this point to prevent infection as the peck of the beak either penetrated deep into or even through the sclera OR it only scratched the sclera and cornea.

I have no doubt that a chicken's beak contains all manner of nasty bacteria, and, since your eye is red and painful you MUST get seen by an eye doctor soon. Visual injuries are, thankfuly, rare, but you have one that could be serious.

As I say above it IS good that your vision is not affected, but there is simply no way to know at this point without a good exam if bacteria have been deposited deep enough into the orbit to cause infection.

IF they have then you will need AT LEAST prescription antibiotic eye drops. You also need a tetatnus shot if you have not had one in the last five to ten years.

Finally, you may well need pain control even if this is simply an abraasion. Abrasions can cause spasm of the ciliary muscle. This is VERY painful and a few days of eye dilation and mild pain medicines could to wonders.

Please do update us on this very unique injury!

Be well.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your response. Since the redness has subsided substantially, I am able to see where I was pecked. It is on the white area of my eye closest to my nose. I was looking straight at the chicken so my eye was looking foward (not up or down) and she, fortunately, got me on the white area and not the cornea or the colored part of my eye. There is a piece of the eyeball skin (not sure what that is called) that is sticking out with some blood in it or it's just red. I haven't taken any pain meds such as advil because I wanted to monitor if the pain got worse or better. If it got considerably worse, I was going to head over to urgent care. Yesterday was rather painful, well, actually very painful but by this morning, it was much, much better. My eye has been "crying" a lot. I guess my eye is producing tears to clean it out. I have been flushing it with saline solution several times a day. As of this comment, the pain level is not much at all, just uncomfortable.

I don't think I have an infection but I still want to be seen just in case. Also, it's been close to 15 years or more since I have had a tetnus shot. I'm going to see if I can get in tomorrow.

LOL, I guess I can see your point that it is an unusual or unique question. How many people get poked in the eyeball by a chicken? I only have four chickens so they are very tame and very friendly so this peck too me by surprise. It seems they don't like to be stared at especially if there is no "treat" coming their way.

About 15 years or so ago, I had a scratched cornea so I know how very painful an eye injury is.

space doc said...

I totally agree with MD ER DOC 1.

To paraphrase his message: Don't CHICKEN OUT---
See an ophthalmologist----
If you did get an infection you could be in for a PECK of trouble.

Warn your chicken it may now be your "fine feathered FIEND' !

Good luck! Space Doc

MDSTAT_ER_DOC_1 said...

Very well. Glad you are better today. We can take some good stock in that. Make sure you get checked out and get your tetanus up to date. Clostridium tetani is the offending organism in tetanus cases in it lived in the dirt. I think a chicken peck to the eye would be considered a high risk wound for tetanus (though it is exxtremely rare). Let us know what you discover.

space doc said...

With your improvement it sounds like you may just have sustIained a small contusion of the sclera ( the white of the eye) and possibly a very small tag of the conjunctiva may have occurred giving you the bit of the (conjunctival) tissue that you have seen. These small areas of bleeding (just under the conjunctival covering) will usually heal without much difficulty, but they do sometimes get infected, so it would still be good to see the ophthalmologist for some possible eye antibiotics.

Good idea to get the tetnus shot if you haven't had one in the pst ten years

Keep us posted and best of luck!
space doc.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your help and quick responses. Chickens have very hard beaks and they are strong critters. They have chased a large cat out of my backyard several times. The cat was frightened when he saw four chickens running toward him and took off. Also, with all the pecking they do in the dirt looking for bugs to eat, they really do have very dirty beaks. Even so, they produce the best tasting eggs.

I will be seeing a GP later today but honestly, I think I am healing and no infection. I was really fortunate as it could have been much worse in light of how strong and forceful their pecks are and how dirty their beaks are. I do want to get a tetnus shot just in case. I can't believe how fast I healed.

Again, thank you so much for your help and for this site.

@Space Doc: Don't worry, I won't "CHICKEN OUT" and will be seen today. And yes, if I developed an infection I would be in for a "PECK" of trouble. No need to warn my chicken that she may now be my "fine feathered "FIEND" since she won't ever get another opportunity to peck me like that, LOL. She's useful, she gives me an egg a day.

space doc said...

Thanks so much for the follow-ups!

Since you didn't 'chicken-out'---I hope everything will turn out just 'ducky'!!

(forgive me!) Space Doc

Anonymous said...

You are welcome.

Your comment about everything turning out "ducky" certainly caught my attention where I had to go back and read my comments. The reason is I have a macaw named "Ducky." I thought I must have mentioned him since he has bitten me in the past. I have to say that a bite by a macaw is very painful, the force of their beaks is something to behold. Where most animals have the bottom jaw as the only moveable part, in macaws, it is the top and bottom which is why their bites are so incredibly strong.

In any event, Ducky did not bite me so everything did turn out "ducky." :) And I did enjoy your play on words.

Anyway, things are good and I really do thank everyone for their help. This site is really a good resource and I really do appreciate the fact that you take the time to guide us non medical folks in the right direction.

Take care,

space doc said...

If we had taken a vote---I'm sure we would have concluded "The EYES have it"---this has been the best story---with the best ending. (Certainly not one for the birds!)

Thanks again for keeping us posted!

Stay well!---All our best! Space Doc.