FAQs on Eye Emergencies
Eye emergencies can occur at any time of the day or night. Knowing how to react and if you should administer any immediate first aid can be crucial to the outcome of your emergency. Making the wrong decisions can lead to further problems developing and temporary or even permanent damage to your vision.
To help you to identify if you are having an eye emergency, and to know what to do if an eye emergency arises, here are some of the most frequently asked questions about emergency eye incidents.
What are the symptoms of an eye emergency?
There are many different types of eye emergencies, each with their own unique symptoms. When it comes to eyes and vision, it is better to be safe and get checked out, rather than potentially risk your vision. If you experience any of the following, we recommend that you speak to your eye doctor.
- Loss of vision
- Eye pain
- Double vision
- Burning or stinging
- Pupils that aren’t the same size
- Sensitivity to light
- Any visible abnormality affecting the eye, such as bulging, bleeding or discharge from the eye
- Severe itching
- Severe headaches
- Penetration by a foreign object
Some of these instances, such a penetration by a foreign object, mean that you should go straight to your emergency eye care center.
What should I do if I suffer a chemical injury to my eye?
Chemical injuries are some of the most commonly seen in our office. They can occur due to any sort of contact with a product that contains chemicals, such as cleaning products, garden chemicals, aerosols and more and it can be direct, or via transfer such as from your fingers to your eye. Eye burns can even be caused by cutting up a chili's or onions and then touching your eyes.
Prompt treatment is essential to prevent any permanent damage to your vision, and this should be followed by a trip to your emergency eye care center. If you get chemicals in your eye, rinse immediately using cool tap or bottled water for at least 15 minutes. This will remove as much chemical as possible before you travel.
What should I do if I get something in my eye?
Many small foreign objects can be gently removed, either by blinking you’re your eye or by rinsing it vigorously. However, if you are unable to move a small object in this way, or if you have a larger foreign object stuck in your eye, don’t attempt to remove it. Doing so could cause more damage. Instead, cover it with a plastic cup or something similar if you can to prevent anything else getting into it or the object being dislodged in any way, and get to your emergency eye doctor.
What shouldn’t I do if I experience an eye injury?
Often what you shouldn’t do is just as important as what you should do. There are some actions that you may be tempted to take that should absolutely be avoided in the event that you have an eye injury. These include:
- Putting any medications or ointments into the eye
- Rubbing your eye
- Applying any pressure to your eye
- Using tweezers or other tools to try and remove anything that is stuck in your eye
- Take your contact lenses out (unless you have a chemical injury in which case the water you use to rinse them will probably flush them out – if not, you should remove them yourself as they may have chemicals trapped on them)
For more advice about what to do in an eye emergency, please don’t hesitate to contact our knowledgeable and friendly eye care team.
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