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EYE EMERGENCIES

The human eye is delicate and very susceptible to injury.

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Eye Emergencies

A sudden injury not only causes pain, but can have some pretty serious complications to your health. Certain areas of the human body are more susceptible to injury than others and can cause long-term damage.

They say that the eyes are the window to the soul, but they are also one of the most sensitive and important areas of the body. Any injury to the eye can negatively impact your vision and should be checked as soon as possible.

When to Seek Medical Care

At Regional Eye Center, we provide 24-hour services for eye emergencies.

During regular office hours, you may call and someone will give you guidance and instructions on how to handle your problem. This may or may not include coming into the office to be seen.

Common Eye Injuries

Many eye injuries happen at school, in the office, at home, or while traveling. Sports activities are one of the most common sources of eye injuries. On-site job visits, such as in the construction industry, are another source of frequent eye emergencies.

Our eye doctors treat many types of eye emergencies, such as:

  • Chemical exposure
  • Concussion
  • “Floaters” in the vision
  • Dislodged contact lenses
  • Eye infections
  • Eye trauma
  • Flashes of light in the vision
  • Foreign materials stuck in the eyes
  • Lost or broken contact lenses or eyeglasses
  • Red or painful eyes
  • Scratched eyes
  • Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Uncomfortable, itchy, or irritated eyes

Scleral lenses can provide effective relief, as well. These are custom-designed rigid contact lenses with a large diameter that cover the entire sclera (the white part of the eye) without touching the cornea. Scleral lenses contain a tiny pool of water, providing constant moisture to dry eyes.

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Common Causes of Eye Injury: (click each item below to show)

Chemical Exposure and Your Eyes

Many people assume that exposure to chemicals affects only the skin and lungs. However, even mild exposure to chemicals in household cleaning products can damage your vision.

Chemicals like sodium hydroxide can be found in oven and drain cleaners. Air fresheners and leather cleaners may contain formaldehyde, which in high amounts, has been linked to certain types of cancer. Exposure to these substances can cause itching, burning, redness, or soreness in the eyes.

The #1 way to lower your risk is to wash your hands thoroughly after handling cleaning products. Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes until your hands are washed and clear of any lingering chemical substances. If the pain persists, contact your eye doctor.

Concussions

A concussion is an injury to the brain caused by a physical trauma, known as a Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI. This is typically caused by a sudden blow or bump to the head, which makes the brain move around inside the head. A concussion can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, or sudden light sensitivity.Concussions can lead to vision problems, including blurry or double vision, eyestrain, problems with eye coordination, and reading difficulties.If you or a loved one has experienced a concussion, contact our office immediately. Ray D. Williams, OD will perform a comprehensive eye exam to check your visual acuity and overall eye health to ensure that the injury hasn’t negatively impacted your everyday activities.

Dislodged Contact Lenses

For contact lens wearers, getting lenses stuck in the eye can be a painful experience. This happens when the lens folds itself or moves underneath the eyelid. Simply massage your eye and the lens will usually move or fall out on its own. If it feels dry, administer some rewetting drops or artificial tears to moisturize the area.A dislodged lens may also be a sign of poor fit. In these cases, we can simply examine your eye and outfit you for better fitting contact lenses.Should you be unsuccessful at dislodging a stuck contact lens by yourself, that’s where we come in. Visit Regional Eye Center and we’ll remove it and get you back to comfortable lens wear.

Eye Infections

A highly common eye emergency, eye infections can be serious and contagious, depending on the type of infection you have. One of the most prevalent eye infections is conjunctivitis, also known as “pink eye.” This occurs when the conjunctiva, which is a thin membrane that lines the eyelids and sclera (white part of the eye), become inflamed or swollen. The sclera usually turns dark pink or red, and the eyes become watery and include a mucus discharge.

Pink eye is contagious and spreads quickly, especially around children in daycare and schools. Fortunately, we can treat eye infections with antibiotic eye drops or ointment. These usually eradicate the infection quickly. In more severe cases, Ray D. Williams, OD may recommend an alternative course of action.

Foreign Materials Stuck in the Eyes

Getting something stuck in your eye can be excruciating. Even a tiny eyelash that falls into the eye can be very painful and immediately cause your eyes to water, itch, burn, or sting. If a foreign particle gets into your eye, rinse your eye with cold water for 15 minutes. If that doesn’t wash it away, seek medical care immediately. A sharp piece of debris like a tiny shard of glass or pebble can scratch the cornea, known as a corneal abrasion. A deep abrasion can lead to eye infection or a corneal ulcer, so if you experience a foreign substance in your eye without successfully flushing it out on your own, contact your eye doctor as soon as possible.

Itchy or Irritated Eyes

Perhaps one of the most frequently reported symptoms, itchiness or irritation in the eyes can be a sign of various eye diseases or conditions. Itchy eyes are often a symptom of Dry Eye Disease, a condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tears to keep the eyes lubricated.Itchy eyes can signify a corneal scratch, also known as a corneal abrasion. This happens when something scratches the cornea of your eye, like a fingertip or a tiny grain of sand. Even rubbing your eyes excessively can cause a corneal abrasion.

Eye Infections (click each questions below to show the answer)

What is an eye infection?

An infection is when a foreign organism has invaded your eye. This is usually a virus or a bacterium, but can also be a fungus, an amoeba, or a parasite

What should I do if I spill chemicals in my eye?

Flush the eye with water for at least 15 minutes.

What should I do if I get sand, metal, or wood, in my eyes?

Do not rub the eye! It may imbed the material. Gentle rinsing of the eye may dislodge the material. If unsuccessful, seek medical attention.

I am seeing spots or floating colors suddenly

Call your doctor immediately

Are eye infections dangerous?

Most viral infections heal on their on. However, some infections can permanently scar the eye and cause vision loss.

Can my child go to school with an eye infection?

Most childrens eye infections are viral and can be quite contagious. Wait until the infection resolves before returning to school.

Foreign Body Removal (click each question below to show the answer)

I have sand stuck in my eye, is it dangerous?

Do not rub the eye! It may imbed the material or cause a painful abrasion to the surface of your eye. Gentle rinsing of the eye may dislodge the material. If unsuccessful, seek medical attention.

I have something stuck in my eye, how should I remove it?

Gentle rinsing of the eye may dislodge the material. If unsuccessful, seek medical attention.

I feel like I have dirt in my eye when I wear contact lenses, is that dangerous?

Contact lens wear can cause small breaks in the skin surface that covers the eye. This opens the door for infection. Treat any contact lens related disconmfort as a potentially serious problem.

I spilled a chemical in my eye, what should I do?

Flush the eye with water for at least 15 minutes.

Scratches (click each below to show)

My child scratched my eye...what should I do?

If there is a lot of pain we want to see you right away. Scratches on the eye open the door for infection and need treatment. The eye is very sensitive and even small scratches can cause great discomfort. Seek immediate treatment.

Is a scratch on the eye dangerous?

Yes, scratches on the eye open the door for infection and need treatment. The eye is very sensitive and even small scratches can cause great discomfort. Seek immediate treatment.

Trauma (click each below to show)

I got hit in the eye with a baseball, is that dangerous for my vision?

Yes, interneral injuries can result. See your doctor as soon as possible. Apply a cold pack to reduce swelling

Should I visit an eye doctor if I got a black eye?

Yes, interneral injuries can result. See your doctor as soon as possible. Apply a cold pack to reduce swelling

I have pain in my eye after getting a black eye, should I visit the emergency room or an eye doctor?

Your eye doctor is better equipped to evaluate the internal structures of you eye.

Kids (click each below to show)

My toddler is complaining that his eye hurts, should I make an appointment with the Optometrist?

Yes, we examine people of all ages

My child came home from school saying that his eye hurts, what should I do?

Acute pain needs to be seen as soon as possible. There may be something in the eye. Problems that are not painful eye can wait until the first available appointment.

My child has a weird bump in his eye, should I make an appointment?

Yes, Your doctor can determine the cause of the swelling and prescribe any necessary treatment.

Severe Emergencies (click each below to show)

I just lost my vision in one eye, should I visit the emergency room?

Sudden loss in vision may result from loss of blood flow to the eye. This may be a pre-stroke warning. Seek medical attention at once. We will evaluate your eyes as soon as we are sure your medical condition is stable.

My eye is bleeding what should I do?

Yes, see your eye doctor at once.

I am seeing double, should I go to the eye doctor?

Yes, see your eye doctor at once.

I have severe pain in my eye, what do I do?

Yes, see your eye doctor at once.

I feel a lot of pressure behind my eye, what should I do?

See your eye doctor at once.

The Following Eye Emergencies May Require Immediate Attention By Calling Our Office or Going to The Hospital Emergency Room

Chemical exposures: If the substance was known to be caustic, immediate medical evaluation by either one of our eye doctors or in the emergency department is needed, regardless of symptoms. Acids and alkalis are the worst and require immediate attention. If the substance is not dangerous, such as soap or suntan lotion, a visit to the emergency department is not necessary, but a visit to the office may be helpful to alleviate any remaining symptoms. When in doubt, seek medical attention.

Sharp trauma: Any cuts near the eye needs to be evaluated to ensure that the eyeball is not involved. Our doctor may refer any cuts to the eyelids or face that require suturing.

Blunt trauma: Any trauma to the eye needs to be evaluated. Even blunt trauma can cause a rupture of the eye. Blunt trauma can also cause inflammation, bleeding, or retinal detachment.

Flashes and floaters: Flashes and floaters can be a normal process of aging. However, they are the same symptoms that one may get with a retinal detachment. These symptoms need to be evaluated.

Eye redness or pain: These symptoms may indicate a serious problem such as inflammation, infection, glaucoma. These need to be evaluated immediately.

Loss of vision: Some loss of vision may be benign and reversible (like from fluctuating blood sugars). However, some are more ominous and permanent. Any loss of vision needs to be evaluated emergently.

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