Are you experiencing an eye issue? There are numerous eye conditions and problems that can occur. Some things constitute an emergency and others don’t, so it can be difficult to know how to proceed. When should you go to the emergency room and when should you call your eye doctor? Here’s what you need to know about emergency eye care.
When to Proceed to the Emergency Room or Call 911
If your eye injury is life threatening, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room at a hospital. Of course it is best for someone else to drive you. You should never attempt to drive yourself to the emergency room, especially in the case of an eye issue. If you are alone, call 911. The following situations require immediate emergency care at a hospital:
- Uncontrolled bleeding. If your eye is bleeding and won’t stop right away.
- Penetration of the eye. If an object penetrates your eye.
- Severe pain. If you are experiencing severe pain in your eye it may indicate a serious issue that needs to be immediately addressed.
When to Call Your Eye Doctor
Many eye issues are urgent, but not emergent. In other words, your life is not in jeopardy, so you can wait until your eye doctor can see you, either the same day or sometimes even the next day. Here are some situations where you should call your eye doctor right away, even if it is after hours and the office is closed.
- Burning or stinging
- Double vision
- Lost or decreased vision
- One eye isn’t moving like the other
- Sensitivity to light
- Bruising or bleeding around the eye
- Blood in the white of the eye
- Severe itching
Why is it Important to See an Eye Doctor for Eye Emergencies?
An eye doctor (optometrist), is medically trained to diagnose and treat conditions of the eyes. Emergency room doctors are trained to handle trauma and get a patient to a stable, non-life threatening status. After the patient is stable and no longer in danger, an optometrist should treat the eyes. An eye doctor is also preferable to a general physician for conditions of the eye, even something as mild as pink eye. Pink eye can be a sign of a more serious condition that could affect someone’s vision permanently if not treated as soon as possible.
How to Handle Eye Emergencies at Home
If you experience some kind of eye injury or condition, you should always call your eye doctor. But in the meantime there are some things you can do to relieve your pain or protect your eyes from further injury.
- Foreign object. Use a saline spray to remove the object. Do not rub the eye or the object could scratch your cornea.
- Chemical burn. Flush the eye with saline or distilled water for 15 minutes.
- Vision changes. If you experience sudden vision changes, such as loss of vision or floaters, keep your eyes closed as much as possible until you can see your eye doctor.
Always call your eye doctor if you experience any of these situations, including redness of the eyes, bulging eyes, or different sized pupils. Immediate attention can save your vision and your life.
Andrews Eyecare Center Handles Eye Emergencies
If you are experiencing an eye emergency, call 911 or proceed to the nearest emergency room. If you have an urgent eye issue, call Andrews Eyecare Center at 330-527-3937. During regular business hours we will do our best to see you as soon as possible. After hours you will need to leave a message and Dr. Andrews will return your call. We will see you immediately if necessary or the next day if the situation is not urgent. We always treat every patient’s situation as seriously as it deserves.
Call 330-527-3937 any time of the day or night if you are experiencing a serious eye injury or condition. If your situation is not urgent, call during regular business hours or request an appointment.