What Is an Eye
eye emergency occurs any time you have a foreign object or chemicals in your
eye, or when an injury or burn affects your eye area.
you should seek medical attention if you ever experience swelling, redness, or
pain in your eyes. Without proper treatment, eye damage can lead to a partial
loss of vision or even permanent blindness.
Symptoms of Eye
emergencies cover a range of incidents and conditions, each with their own
should contact your doctor if it feels like you have something in your eye, or
if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- loss of vision
- burning or stinging
- pupils that are not the same size
- one eye is not moving like the other
- one eye is sticking out or bulging
- eye pain
- decreased vision
- double vision
- redness and irritation
- light sensitivity
- bruising around the eye
- bleeding from the eye
- blood in the white part of the eye
- discharge from the eye
- severe itching
- new or severe headaches
there’s an injury to your eye, or if you have sudden vision loss, swelling,
bleeding, or pain in your eye, visit an emergency room or urgent care center.
What Not to Do if
You Have an Eye Injury
complications can occur from an eye injury. You should not attempt to treat
yourself. Although you may be tempted, be sure not to:
- rub or apply pressure to your eye
- try to remove foreign objects that are stuck
in any part of your eye
- use tweezers or any other tools in your eye —
cotton swabs can be used, but only on the eyelid
- put medications or ointments in your eye
you wear contact lenses, do not take them out if you think you have suffered an
eye injury. Attempting to remove your contacts can make your injury worse.
only exceptions to this rule are in situations where you have a chemical injury
and your lenses did not flush out with water, or where you cannot receive
immediate medical help.
best thing you can do in an eye emergency is to get to your doctor as soon as
to the Eye
burns result when cleaning products, garden chemicals, or industrial chemicals
get into your eyes. You can also suffer burns in your eye from aerosols and
you get acid in your eye, early treatment generally results in a good
prognosis. However, alkaline products like drain cleaners, sodium hydroxide,
lye, or lime can permanently damage your cornea.
you get chemicals in your eye, you should take the following steps:
- Turn your head so the injured eye is down and
to the side.
- Hold your eyelid open and flush with cool tap
water for 15 minutes. This can also be done in the shower.
- If you are wearing contact lenses and they
are still in your eye after flushing, try to remove them.
- Get to an emergency
room or urgent care center as quickly as possible. If possible, continue to flush your eye with clean water while
you are waiting for an ambulance or traveling to the medical center.
Objects in the Eye
something gets in your eye, it can cause eye damage or a loss of vision. Even
something as small as sand or dust can cause irritation.
Take the following steps if you have something small
in your eye or eyelid:
- Try blinking to see if it clears your eye. Do
not rub your eye.
- Wash your hands before touching your eye.
Look into your eye to try to locate the object. You may need someone to help
you with this.
- If necessary, look behind your lower lid by
pulling it down gently. You can look under your upper lid by placing a cotton
swab on the lid and flipping the lid over it.
- If the foreign object is stuck on one of your
eyelids, flush it with water. If the object is in your eye, flush your eye with
- If you cannot remove the object or if the
irritation continues, contact your doctor.
Objects Stuck in Your Eye
metal, or objects that enter your eye at high speed can cause serious damage.
If something is stuck in your eye, leave it where it is.
not touch it, do not apply pressure, and do not attempt to remove it. This is a medical emergency and you should
seek help immediately. Try to move your eye as little as possible while
you wait for medical care. If the object is small and you are with another
person, it may help to cover both eyes with a clean piece of cloth. This will
reduce your eye movement until your doctor examines you.
you have a cut or scratch to your eyeball or eyelid, you need urgent medical
care. You may apply a cold compress while you wait for medical treatment, but
be careful not to apply pressure.
usually get a black eye when something hits your eye or the area surrounding
it. Bleeding under the skin causes the discoloration associated with a black
a black eye will appear as black and blue and then turn purple, green, and
yellow over the next few days. Your eye should return to normal coloring within
a week or two. Black eyes are sometimes accompanied by swelling.
black eye can also be caused by a skull fracture. If your black eye is
accompanied by other symptoms, you should seek medical care.
injuries can happen anywhere, including at home, work, athletic events, or on
the playground. Accidents can happen during high-risk activities, but also in
places where you least expect them.
there are things you can do to decrease your risk of eye injuries, including:
- Wear protective eyewear when you use power
tools or engage in high-risk sporting events. You are at increased risk any time
you are around flying objects, even if you are not participating.
- Follow the directions carefully when working
with chemicals or cleaning supplies.
- Keep scissors, knives, and other sharp
instruments away from young children. Teach older children how to use them
safely and supervise them when they do.
- Do not let your children play with projectile
toys, such as darts or pellet guns.
- Childproof your home by either removing or
cushioning items with sharp edges.
- Use caution when cooking with grease and oil.
- Keep heated hair appliances, like curling
irons and straightening tools, away from your eyes.
- Keep your distance from amateur fireworks.
decrease your chances of developing permanent eye damage, you should always see
a doctor after you experience an eye injury.