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Home » Eye Care Services » Eye Emergencies

Eye Emergencies

A Cut in Your Eye? Why you should see an Optometrist

A cut or scratch in your eye, or a corneal abrasion, is a common injury that can cause discomfort or vision loss. What many don't realize is that there is often no need to rush to the emergency room but rather it’s better to see your local optometrist. When an eye injury occurs, it is important to try washing the eye with a sterile solution. If the redness consists, consult your eye doctor. Your eye doctor is trained in eye emergencies and can properly diagnose what treatment is needed. It is important to remember not to rub your eye as you risk spreading infectious bacteria to the eye.

Calling your ophthalmologist may be helpful in the following circumstances:

Chemical exposures: If you are not sure if the exposure is potentially serious, you have washed out your eye, and you have few symptoms, then your ophthalmologist may be able to help you decide whether or not you should be seen immediately.

Subconjunctival hemorrhage: If you are not sure that you have this condition, your ophthalmologist may be able to help with the diagnosis. This condition does not require immediate medical attention.
Continuing pain and decreased vision after an eye injury can be warning signs that require prompt medical attention. If you have an ophthalmologist, he or she may be able to take care of you in the office. Otherwise, go to a hospital's emergency department.

The following conditions should be seen promptly by an ophthalmologist or in the emergency department:

Chemical exposures: If the substance was known to be caustic, immediate medical evaluation by either an ophthalmologist or in the emergency department is needed, regardless of symptoms. Acids and alkalis are the worst and require immediate attention. If the substance is not dangerous, such as soap or suntan lotion, a visit to the emergency department is not necessary, but a visit to the ophthalmologist's office may be helpful to alleviate any remaining symptoms. When in doubt, seek medical attention.

Lacerations: Cuts that affect the eyelid margins (where the eyelashes are) or the eyeball itself need immediate medical attention. Foreign bodies that are not removed with gentle washing should be evaluated by an ophthalmologist.

Solar retinopathy: Evaluation by an ophthalmologist is necessary. This is one condition where there is little that can be done in the emergency department.