In most cases, if you have continuing symptoms of pain, visual disturbance, or bleeding, you should go to an optometrist. We are available to see patients with eye emergencies, ranging from sore, red and itchy eyes to the removal of foreign bodies from the eye (such as wood or metal.)
In general, if you are not sure if you have a serious eye injury, call your optometrist for advice. Calling us may be helpful in circumstances such as:
- Chemical exposures
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage
- Continuing pain and decreased vision
If you are experiencing any of the following, please be seen by an optometrist immediately either in the office or in the emergency room:
Chemical exposures: If the substance was known to be caustic, immediate medical evaluation by either an eye doctor 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 optometrist'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 optometrist.
Solar retinopathy: Evaluation by an optometrist is necessary. This is one condition where there is little that can be done in the emergency department.