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Home » Eye Exams & Total Vision Care » Eye Emergencies

Eye Emergencies

When to Seek Medical Care

At Clinic for Vision, 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.

After hours, you may call  256-506-1683  to speak with the eye doctor on call. One of our eye doctors will return your call and give you guidance and instructions. This may or may not include coming to be seen in the office or emergency department of the hospital.

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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.

Eye Infections

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.

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Foreign Body Removal

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

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.

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Trauma

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

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.

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Severe Emergencies

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.

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