5 Common Eye Emergencies and How to Handle Them

Woman who needs eye emergency care - Calgary eye clinic

Whether it’s eye trauma or a chemical injury, knowing what to do during an eye emergency is critical to protecting your ocular health and preventing any vision loss. Here are some of the most common types of eye emergencies, how to handle them, and why it’s important to visit your eye doctor immediately for eye emergency care.


Regular eye exams are important because they allow your eye doctor to examine any changes to your vision, detect early signs of serious eye conditions, or determine if any symptoms you have require emergency care. 

Some symptoms that may indicate a need for eye emergency care include: 

  • Sudden vision loss
  • Black spots or flashes of light 
  • Eye injury or pain 
  • Seeing halos or rainbows around lights 
  • Loss of peripheral (side) vision 
  • Red, crusty, or swollen eyelids 
  • Curtain-like disappearance of vision 

If you have suffered an eye injury or any other type of eye emergency, the best thing you can do is to immediately seek the opinion of an eye doctor. This will lower your risk of vision loss and will ensure that your eye health is protected. 


Comprehensive and Quick Eye Emergency Care in Calgary

At our Calgary eye clinic in Sunridge Mall, we understand that an eye emergency can arise at any time. That’s why we offer quick, convenient, and comprehensive eye emergency care for numerous concerns such as scratched eyes, dislodged contact lenses, eye infections, and more. Whatever your needs, we are dedicated to protecting you against vision loss and helping you achieve and maintain optimal eye health. 

Want to know more? 

EYE EMERGENCY CARE IN CALGARY 


5 Common Eye Emergencies and How to Handle Them

Eye emergencies come in all shapes and sizes but no matter what type you are dealing with, your best course of action is always to visit an optometrist for emergency eye care. Only an optometrist can locate the exact source and diagnose the effects of your eye emergency on your overall eye health. 

Here are five common types of eye emergencies that you need to be aware of and how you should handle them: 


1. Black Eye

If you have experienced an eye injury that results in a black eye, apply a cold compress gently to the affected area without pressing on the eye itself. Do this several times a day for at least two days. However, visit your optometrist if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Blood in your eye
  • Vision problems
  • Severe pain 
  • Unusual pupil size or shape
  • One eye not moving the same as the other
  • One eye sticking out more than the other 

HOW TO LOWER YOUR CHILD’S RISK OF EYE INJURY 


2. Chemical Burn 

Many chemical burns can be treated and managed and quick action will mean that your eyesight won’t be permanently affected. If you do experience any type of chemical burn to your eye, here is what you should do: 

  • Determine the nature of the chemical that has caused the burn. Some chemicals should be flushed out with water while other chemical burns could be made worse if you use water. 
  • If it is indicated that you can flush it with water, run your open eye under cool tap water or even jump in the shower. 
  • Continue to do this for 10-15 minutes. This will remove any irritating particles or residual chemicals. 
  • Call your optometrist and let them know what happened. When you go see them, take the chemical with you to accelerate the diagnosis. 

Note: Chemicals with a high pH level can penetrate your eye and cause permanent damage to your vision. That’s why swift and immediate emergency eye care is a necessity. 


3. Viral Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) 

Viral conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, can be highly uncomfortable. It can cause the surface of your eye to become red, irritated, itchy, or swollen — but you mustn’t rub it. In most cases, the symptoms will disappear within 2-3 weeks and you just have to let things run their course. 

Your eye doctor can confirm the diagnosis and provide you with management options including: 

  • Eye drops
  • Cold compresses

This will help relieve any discomfort you might have. You will be contagious for up to one week after developing the symptoms so talk to your eye doctor about how you can limit your chances of spreading pink eye to others. 


4. Floaters and Flashes of Light 

Floaters become more common as we age but if you do notice an increase in the quantity, size, or frequency of floaters, this could indicate a serious underlying condition. In such a case, you should contact your eye doctor immediately for an eye exam. 

Flashes of light, on the other hand, are not normal and they can suggest some kind of internal trauma to your retina or optic nerve. If you are experiencing any flashes of light, this should be followed by a visit to your Calgary eye clinic. 


5. Sudden Changes in Vision 

Sometimes, a patient will experience a sudden impairment of vision (or even total blindness). This can happen in one or both eyes. In such a case, time is of the essence and you need to visit your optometrist immediately. At our Calgary eye clinic, our team’s expertise and state-of-the-art equipment make us your best option for diagnosing and treating the problem as quickly as possible. 

Why is quick action so important? Quick, proactive action is the best way to try and reverse whatever condition has caused vision impairment and return your vision to normal. 


Our Calgary Optometrists Can Help Protect Your Vision 

Whether your eye emergency is large or small, you should never take any risks with your sight. If you are experiencing any changes in your vision or you have suffered an eye injury, your best bet is always to contact your optometrist for emergency eye care as soon as possible. 

To find out more, contact us at 403-280-7518 or fill in our online contact form.


FAQs

Q: What is the most important thing to do to prevent eye injuries? 
Wearing proper protective eyewear can prevent up to 90 per cent of eye injuries, greatly reducing your risk of vision loss. If you play high impact sports or spend a lot of time on DIY home repairs, talk to your optometrist about investing in protective eyewear. 


Q: Is vision loss from an eye emergency permanent? 
Ocular emergencies have the potential to cause permanent vision loss if they aren't quickly addressed and treated. Such emergencies can include retinal detachments, chemical injuries, or trauma. 


Q: How do I get a foreign object out of my eye? 
There are certain things you can do to get a small foreign object out of your eye. Try to blink more frequently to allow your tears to wash out the object. DO NOT rub your eye. You can also try to flush out the object using running water from a tap or the shower. However, if you are experiencing severe eye pain, vision changes, or you can see something lodged in your eyeball, visit your eye doctor right away. 


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