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Eye Emergencies that Require an Eye Doctor

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Close up of eye that is red and swollen.

Our eyes are delicate features of our body that are in need of protection. The daily lives of human beings are sometimes intensely active, which opens up the possibility of sustaining damage to our eyes and drastically altering our eye health. Eye emergencies arise due to external damage or irritation to our eyes and require immediate medical attention in almost all cases. If you believe you are currently undergoing an eye emergency, do not hesitate to contact The Eye Gallery to receive treatment for your current situation.

What is an Eye Emergency?

An eye emergency occurs when some kind of external force damages or injures your eye. Things like foreign objects, chemical burns, cuts, scratches, ocular trauma, and orbital trauma can lead to an eye emergency. An eye doctor or specialist should be contacted immediately if you think you are experiencing an eye emergency; in most cases, professional treatment will be required to treat any external damage to your eye.

Foreign Objects

Small foreign objects like sand, dust, dirt, eyelashes, hair, and other particles are common irritants and are prone to entering your eyes. Your eyes are usually effective at removing these objects on their own, but the process of removing them can be helped by flushing your eyes with cool, clean water.

Larger and sharper objects, such as glass or metal, can become embedded in the eye and will pose a more serious risk to your eye health.

It is important to remember not to touch or rub your eye when there is a foreign object present. You should try blinking to help remove the particle(s) from your eye or flush your eyes with cool, clean water or saline solution.

Chemicals Burns and Injuries

Chemical exposure to sensitive eye tissues can lead to chemical burns. While most chemical burns are most likely to occur at work, they can also happen at home.

Acid Burns

Alkali Burns

Close up of woman with blue eyes that has corneal scratch on eye.

Ocular & Orbital Trauma

An impact to the eye from an accident or fall can injure the eye or its surrounding structure. Symptoms of ocular and orbital trauma can include:

  • Bruising and swelling around the eye (black eye)
  • Bleeding
  • Facial numbness
  • Pain in and around the eye
  • Cuts on the eyelid
  • Blurry or double vision

If you have been struck in the eye, do not apply pressure. Instead, you can gently apply a cold compress to the area to help reduce swelling and pain.

Cuts, Scratches, and Corneal Abrasions

Receiving a scratch on your eye can occur due to many different circumstances. Corneal abrasions and scratches can happen while playing sports, doing housework, cooking, playing with your pets or kids, or working. Symptoms from a scratch can arise immediately, or they may take a few hours to become apparent. Symptoms of this kind of eye emergency include:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Excessive tearing
  • A feeling like something is in your eye
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Headache

Most scratches and abrasions are minor and will heal on their own, but you should always seek diagnosis and treatment from a trained optometrist to ensure your ocular health. Your optometrist may prescribe antibiotic eye drops to reduce the risk of infection.

If you currently have a scratched cornea, do not rub your eye or touch it with foreign objects. Instead, you should rinse the affected eye with cool, clean water or saline solution to help flush debris.

Red Eyes

Red or pink eyes can have many different causes and the appropriate treatment option will be different depending on what the cause is. One of our optometrists will be able to accurately diagnose the cause of red or pink eyes and recommend a treatment plan when visiting our office.

Red or pink eyes can be a symptom of conjunctivitis, which causes inflammation and infection of the eye. Conjunctivitis can be viral, bacterial, or caused by an allergic reaction. All three types of conjunctivitis require different treatment options but will go away on their own with proper ocular hygiene. If your case of conjunctivitis is severe, your optometrist may recommend taking antibiotics or using eye drops.

This condition can also occur when foreign bodies or chemicals enter the eye, or some sort of damage to the eye is sustained. Your optometrist may recommend flushing your eye or using eye drops to help treat red or pink eyes.

Reducing the Risks of Eye Emergencies

Sport and safety eyewear can help reduce the risk of eye injuries while you’re at work, playing sports, or performing daily activities. The Eye Gallery carries a wide selection of specialty eyewear in our eyeglass boutique. Our experienced and friendly opticians and frame stylists can help you find the perfect style for your work, favorite hobby, or sport!

Written by Dr. Madison Baldwin

As a Kansas native (born and raised in Kingman), I am thrilled to be able to practice what I love so close to home. I can’t imagine anything better than to be caring for my community and building strong ties to new friends and colleagues.

When I’m not in the office caring for my patients, I enjoy making memories with my husband, Aaron, and our dog-child, Dexter! You’ll often find me playing piano, hosting our friends and family in our home, or out for a run. Aaron and I enjoy traveling to warm places and recently became open-water scuba diver certified!

I chose eye care as my career because I’ve always wanted to help people. The quality of care I provide is incredibly important to me. In an age where doctors spend just a few minutes with their patients, I am proud to give my patients the time and diligence they deserve. More than to simply “see” you, I want to learn more about you and how I can best serve your needs. Our relationship matters.

I invite you to make an appointment for yourself or your children, whether you have an eye concern or are simply seeking an updated corrective lens prescription. I will always do my best to provide you the best eye care available anywhere in Wichita.

Professional Associations & Memberships

  • Member, Kansas Optometric Association (KOA)
  • Member, American Optometric Association (AOA)
  • Member, Business Networking International (BNI)

Education

  • Bachelor of Science (chemistry) – Bethel College, 2007
  • Doctor of Optometry – Northeastern State University, Oklahoma College of Optometry, 2011
    • Graduated Magna Cum Laude
    • Member of the Beta Sigma Kappa honor society
    • Presented with “Outstanding Clinician in Ocular Disease” award.
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