Eye Emergencies: Types, Symptoms and Prevention

Eye Emergencies: Types, Symptoms and Prevention

Accidents and emergencies are just as likely to affect your eyes as any other part of your body. However, since we are so dependent on our sight, if they aren’t dealt with promptly or correctly, they could have serious and permanent consequences for your vision and eye health. Fortunately, many eye emergencies are entirely preventable if you take sufficient steps to keep them safe. Recognizing the symptoms of an eye emergency and getting prompt treatment are also essential if you are to retain your eyesight for as long as possible.


Preparedness is key, and to help you, we have put together the following important information on the types and symptoms of eye emergencies. We’ve also got some invaluable advice on how to prevent eye emergencies.


Types of eye emergency

There are many different types of eye emergency, with some more common than others. Some of the most regular eye exams that we see at our optometric center include the following:


Foreign object in the eye. It’s very easy to get something stuck in your eye, but whilst most things will clear themselves if you rinse the affected eye, others are more complex or need professional treatment to remove them.


Chemical burns. Whether you inadvertently spray cleaning fluid into your eye or get a chemical substance onto your fingers which you then transfer to your eyes by subconsciously touching them, when toxic substances come into contact with your eyes it can have painful and sometimes irreversible consequences for your vision.


Bleeding from the eye. If you have sustained a scratch or other similar injury, you may find that your eye starts to bleed. It is always recommended that any bleeding from the eye is assessed right away by an eye doctor.


Sudden vision loss. You may not know why it has happened, but any sudden vision loss , whether partial or complete, should be viewed as an ocular emergency and you must get seen by your eye doctor immediately.


Symptoms of an eye emergency

There are many different symptoms that could indicate an eye emergency. Exactly which of the following you could experience will depend on the type of emergency you are experiencing.


-          Bleeding or discharge from the eye

-          Bruising around the eye without knowing the cause

-          Decreased vision

-          Eye pain

-          Persistent headaches that are not helped by medication

-          Pupils of unequal size

-          Sensation of something being stuck in the eyes

-          Sensitivity to light

-          Stinging/burning


These symptoms are not all necessarily indicative of an eye emergency but are common indicators of many problems.


Prevention of eye emergencies

Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can to reduce your risk of suffering from an eye emergency.


Wear protective eyewear

The most obvious and the most practical solution that will protect your eyes against the majority of injuries. There are lots of different safety glasses and goggles available, meaning that there is a variety to suit most faces and activities. Certain tasks and activities make eye injuries more likely, so be sure to wear the appropriate protective eyewear when doing things like – working on cars, carpentry, cutting down trees, gardening, welding and anything that involves handling chemicals.


If you participate in certain sporting activities, you would benefit from protective eyewear too. Particularly those that feature a ball, puck, racket, stick or flying object!


Wash your hands

Simple, but effective. You should always try to avoid touching your eyes as much as possible, but if you need to, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly first. Not only will this remove toxic substances, but it will also ensure no dirt or debris gets transferred into your eyes.



Open champagne/fizz bottles carefully

You would be surprised how many eye injuries are caused by champagne corks being discharged without due care and attention. When you are opening a bottle of fizz, be sure to point the neck of the bottle away from yourself and any bystanders.



Leave fireworks to the professionals

Similarly, many eye injuries are caused by the mishandling of fireworks. Fireworks, even when carefully prepared, can be unpredictable. We strongly recommend that you leave fireworks displays to the professionals and just enjoy the show!



For more advice on eye emergencies, including what to do should you be affected, please don’t hesitate to contact our expert team by calling our offices today.


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