Common Eye Emergencies

If not promptly identified and treated, specific eye problems can lead to permanent vision loss. It is essential for people, especially parents, to be familiar with the signs and symptoms of such conditions. They should also learn how to assess the situation and take appropriate measures. 


What Are Eye Emergencies?

Eye emergencies are medical conditions that necessitate immediate treatment to avoid vision loss or other serious complications. A variety of signs and symptoms may indicate an eye emergency. If you experience any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention right away:


  • Excruciating eye pain

  • Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes

  • Bruising or swelling around the eye

  • Redness around the eyes

  • Light flashes or floaters accompanied by a decrease in vision

  • A change in the pupil's shape

  • A discharge of the eye

  • A foreign object sensation in the eye


What Are the Most Common Ocular Emergencies?


Chemical Injuries


When chemicals come into contact with your eye, they may damage the cornea, the transparent outer layer of the eye. Splashes or spills of chemicals, such as cleaning or personal care products, can cause these injuries. The injuries necessitate immediate irrigation of the eye to neutralize the pH of the ocular surface and prevent further damage.


Corneal Abrasions

Corneal abrasions are among the most common ocular emergencies. They occur when something scrapes or scratches the eye's transparent outer layer. They can result from a foreign object in the eye, dry eye, or eye surgery and cause pain, redness, and tearing. Eye drops or ointment can promote healing and prevent infection.


Sudden Vision Loss

Various factors, including stroke, retinal detachment, or other underlying conditions, can cause sudden vision loss. If you experience any of these symptoms, you must seek medical attention as soon as possible.


Foreign Object in the Eye

Foreign bodies in the eye are small objects lodged in the eye. If not removed quickly, they can cause irritation, pain, and vision loss. They can result from several factors, such as dust, dirt, sand, or other particles. Applying eye drops or ointment to promote healing and prevent infection usually follows the removal of the foreign body.


Blunt Trauma

Blunt trauma can cause significant damage to the eye or surrounding structures. In that case, it is an ocular emergency. Various factors, including falls, sports-related injuries, car accidents, or physical assaults, can result in blunt trauma to the eye. It can cause orbital fractures, globe injuries, and traumatic retinal detachments.

Pain, swelling, redness, bruising, double vision, difficulty moving the eye, and vision loss are all possible symptoms of blunt eye trauma. If you sustain blunt trauma to the eye, seek medical attention as soon as possible. An eye specialist will determine the extent of the injury and the best course of treatment. Surgery may sometimes be necessary to repair the damage and prevent vision loss.


Penetrating Injury

When an object, such as a sharp object or a projectile, pierces the eye or surrounding tissue, that is a penetrating injury to the eye. It is a serious ocular emergency that can result in severe damage to the eye and surrounding structures. 

Eye doctors must be familiar with the signs and symptoms of ocular emergencies. They understand when to refer patients to an eye specialist. Prompt treatment can help prevent vision loss or other serious complications. If you have an ocular emergency, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

For more on common eye emergencies, visit Norwood Family Eye Care at our Bartlett, Tennessee office. Call (901) 617-8095 to schedule an appointment today.

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