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Emergency Eye Care

An eye emergency is an event where eyesight is at risk.

Events that risk eyesight require prompt treatment to prevent vision loss. Contact your eye doctor immediately. If your eye doctor is not immediately available to assist or direct you, report to the nearest emergency room. ClearVue Eye Care is able to handle eye emergencies of all kinds, even on weekends and after hours. Please call our office to arrange your visit, or stop in during normal business hours.

Below is a more detailed guide to basic Eye Care Emergency issues.

  • DO NOT press on an injured eye or allow the victim to rub the eye(s).
  • DO NOT remove contact lenses unless rapid swelling is occurring or you cannot get prompt medical help.
  • DO NOT attempt to remove a foreign body that is resting on the cornea (the clear surface of the eye through which we see) or that appears to be embedded in any part of the eye.
  • DO NOT use dry cotton (including cotton swabs) or sharp instruments (such as tweezers) on the eye.
  • DO NOT attempt to remove an embedded object.
  • DO NOT let a burn become contaminated. Avoid breathing or coughing on the burned area.
  • Some of the most common eye emergencies:

    Loss of vision - Contact an eye doctor or go to the emergency room immediately. Most serious forms of vision loss are painless, and the absence of pain in no way diminishes the urgent need to get medical care. Many forms of vision loss only give you a short amount of time to be successfully treated.

    Cut or torn eyelid - Carefully wash the eye. Apply a thick layer of bacitracin or mupirocin ointment on the eyelid. Place a patch over the eye. Seek medical help immediately. If the cut is bleeding, apply gentle pressure with a clean, dry cloth until the bleeding subsides. Rinse with water, cover with a clean dressing, and place a cold compress on the dressing to reduce pain and swelling.

    Scratched eye - If the eyeball has been injured, get medical help immediately. Gently apply cold compresses to reduce swelling and help stop any bleeding. DO NOT apply pressure to control bleeding. If blood is pooling in the eye, cover both of the person's eyes with a clean cloth or sterile dressing, and get medical help.

    Protruding eye - Bulging of a single eye, especially in a child, is a very serious sign and should be evaluated immediately.

    Something under the eyelid that cannot be removed - Tell the person not to rub the eye. Wash your hands before examining it. Examine the eye in a well-lighted area. To find the object, have the person look up and down, then side to side. If you can't find the object, grasp the lower eyelid and gently pull down on it to look under the lower eyelid. To look under the upper lid, you can place a cotton-tipped swab on the outside of the upper lid and gently flip the lid over the cotton swab. If the object is on an eyelid, try to gently flush it out with water. If that does not work, try touching a second cotton-tipped swab to the object to remove it. If the object is on the eye, try gently rinsing the eye with water. It may help to use an eye dropper positioned above the outer corner of the eye. DO NOT touch the eye itself with the cotton swab.

    Chemicals in the eye - Flush with cool tap water immediately. Turn the person's head so the injured eye is down and to the side. Holding the eyelid open, allow running water from the faucet to flush the eye for 15 minutes. If both eyes are affected, or if the chemicals are also on other parts of the body, have the victim take a shower. If the person is wearing contact lenses and the lenses did not flush out from the running water, have the person try to remove the contacts AFTER the flushing procedure. Continue to flush the eye with clean water or saline while seeking urgent medical attention. After following the above instructions, seek medical help immediately.

    Blood in the white of the eye - Call your eye doctor if you have a hemorrhage in both eyes at the same time or if the subconjunctival hemorrhage coincides with other symptoms of bleeding including easy bruising, bleeding gums, or both. Go to your eye doctor immediately if you have a subconjunctival hemorrhage and you have pain associated with the hemorrhage, changes in vision (for example, blurry vision, double vision, difficulty seeing), history of a bleeding disorder, history of high blood pressure, or injury from trauma to the eye.

    Something embedded in the eye - Leave the object in place. DO NOT try to remove the object. DO NOT touch it or apply any pressure to it. Calm and reassure the person. Wash your hands. Bandage both eyes. If the object is large, place a paper cup or cone over the injured eye and tape it in place. Cover the uninjured eye with gauze or a clean cloth. If the object is small, cover both eyes with a clean cloth or sterile dressing. Even if only one eye is affected, covering both eyes will help prevent eye movement. Get medical help immediately.

    Abnormal pupil size or shape - You should see a doctor if you have persistent, unexplained, or sudden changes in pupil size. The new development of different sized pupils may be a sign of a very serious condition. If you have differing pupil size after an eye or head injury, get medical help immediately.

    The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.

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