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.
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.
- Household products like toilet cleaners, batteries, and bleach contain acid and burn when they splash into the eyes.
- If an acid has splashed into your face and eyes, you should immediately flush the area with cool, clean water for at least 15 minutes. Afterward, contact The Eye Gallery or visit your nearest emergency room if we are not available.
- Alkali is present in drain cleaners and industrial cleaning solutions, household cleaning solutions, fertilizers, cement, and plaster and can be responsible for alkali burns.
- In the case of an alkali burn, immediately flush your eyes with cool, clean water for at least 15 minutes. If you wear contact lenses, remove them and refrain from wearing them until the burn has been treated.
- Alkali burns can cause severe and extensive ocular damage and require immediate attention. If you are affected by an alkali burn, contact The Eye Gallery or visit your nearest emergency room if we are not available.
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)
- 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:
- Excessive tearing
- A feeling like something is in your eye
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
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 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!