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Eye Emergencies (Pink/Red Eyes)

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If you experience loss of vision, double vision, swelling, infection or any eye emergency, contact us immediately for guidance. We’ll help you with the best treatment to prevent complications and promote long-lasting clear eyesight.

Please call our office at: (484) 202-6212 for further instructions. Use your best judgment on urgency, if you feel your need to find the nearest emergency room.

Red, Pink or Sore Eyes?

We are ready to look after ALL of your eye care needs in one location. In addition to the services you already rely on us for such as routine eye exams, contact lenses, designer frames and eyeglasses - think of your Optometrist first for:

  • sore, red, or itchy eyes
  • treatment of "pink eye" and other bacterial infections
  • removal of foreign bodies from the eye (such as wood or metal)
  • treatment of eye allergies or burns
  • emergency eye care
  • post-surgical follow-up

This is convenient and cost effective for your whole family and you can be sure you are receiving the attention of an eye care specialist.

Eye Emergencies

We are always willing to help, should you ever experience an eye emergency. Our office provides emergency services for eye infections, eye injuries and other eye urgencies.  State of the art equipment allows us to examine the front surface of the eye and also digitally scan inside the eye for infection or damage We accommodate many eye emergencies such as:

  • Eye infections
  • Foreign materials stuck in the eyes
  • Eye trauma
  • Scratched eyes
  • Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Lost or broken contact lenses or eyeglasses
  • Flashes of light in the vision
  • “Floaters” in the vision
  • Red or painful eyes
  • Dislodged contact lenses
  • Uncomfortable, itchy, or irritated eyes

Studies have shown that an overwhelming number of emergency room visits could have been treated by an optometrist. These ranged from foreign bodies to severe eye allergies to eye infections as the most common reasons for emergency room visits. It is not always necessary to go to an emergency room for eye emergencies. Optometrists are equipped to treat the majority of eye emergencies.

We understand the importance of eye care when you encounter symptoms such as those listed above. These are signs that an immediate evaluation or consultation is necessary - please call us to set one up if you are experiencing an eye emergency of any kind.

Foreign Body Removal

A foreign body is something such as an eyelash, sawdust, sand, or dirt can that gets into the eyes. The main symptom is irritation or pain. Depending on what it is and how the injury happened, the foreign body may pierce the eye and cause serious injury or it may simply go away with no long-term problem.

The foreign object may set off an inflammatory cascade, resulting in dilation of the surrounding vessels and subsequent edema of the lids, conjunctiva, and cornea. If not removed, a foreign body can cause infection.

If anything is stuck in your eye for more than a period of a couple of hours, you must immediately cease all attempts to remove it yourself. Keep in mind that the eyes are an extremely delicate organ and any attempts to try anything extraordinary with them can only have negative and adverse results. If the foreign body you are talking about is not bothering you too much, then you are advised to visit an eye doctor to take care of it. If not you may need to call to emergency service of your region.

If there is a foreign body in your eye, such as a piece of grit, your eye doctor may try and remove it. They will put anesthetic eye drops in your eye first, in order to numb it and prevent any pain.

If the foreign body is easy to get to, it may be possible to remove it by simply rinsing your eye with water, or by wiping it away with a cotton wool bud or triangle of card. However, if this is unsuccessful, your eye doctor may try and remove the foreign body by lifting it out with the tip of a small metal instrument.

The foreign body could be stuck underneath your upper eyelid, especially if you can feel something there, or you have scratches or grazes (abrasions) on the top half of the transparent outer layer of your eye (cornea). If this is the case, it may be necessary to gently turn your eyelid inside out in order to remove the foreign body.

Once the anesthetic eye drops have worn off, your eye may feel a bit uncomfortable until your abrasion heals.

Whatever is happening with your eyes or if you suffer or even suspect that a foreign body has penetrated the outer eye layer better go without delay to the nearest treatment center. Doing nothing can lead to loss of vision, premature cataracts and damage to the retina so do not take any chances, delay is dangerous.

Questions and Answers

Eye Infections

What is an eye infection?

Most lay people call eye infections “pink eye,” as the eye is red or pink in color.  The true name is called a conjunctivitis which is an inflammation of the clear tissue on top of the eye called the conjunctiva.  There are many types of conjunctivitis (allergic, bacterial or viral).  Bacterial conjunctivitis is a true infection and is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops.  There are several types of viral conjunctivitis.  The simple “common cold” type, which has no treatment and simply needs to run its course, as well as the more serious herpetic viral condition, which if left untreated can cause corneal scarring and loss of vision.  If you think you have an infection, it is best to seek the care of an eye doctor to determine the true cause and best course of action.

What should I do if I spill chemicals in my eye? What should I do if I get sand, metal, or wood, in my eyes?

A sudden onset of flashes or floaters are the signs of a potential retinal tear or detachment and these patients need to be dilated as soon as possible.

Are eye infections dangerous?

See answer above

Foreign Body Removal

I have sand stuck in my eye, is it dangerous?

Sand, in and of itself, that gets in your eye is not a problem as it is an inert substance. However, any time you get a foreign body in your eye and it moves around, you run the risk of getting a conjunctival or corneal abrasion.  If you get anything it your eye, try to immediately rinse it with saline to flush it out.  If this it not available, use cool tap water until all of the particles are removed.  Avoid rubbing your eye which can be more likely to cause the abrasions.

I have something stuck in my eye, how should I remove it?

Obviously, it depends on the material, but if is something that simply gently fell in to the eye, try to lavage it with sterile saline or cold tap water. For more stubborn deposits, try to remove gently with a sterile cotton swab or the corner of a tissue.

I feel like I have dirt in my eye when I wear contact lenses, is that dangerous?

It could be risky. Foreign body sensations in the eye can be caused by many different things and some are more dangerous that others.  It could be something as simple as dryness to having a damaged contact lens or the beginning of a more serious infection or ulcer.  If you have a foreign body sensation when wearing contact lenses, don’t panic.  Simply remove the lenses as soon as you can and give your eyes a break.  Using artificial tears can also help.  If the condition does not improve, or worsens, seek eye care advice immediately.

I spilled a chemical in my eye, what should I do?

Chemical burns can be very serious to the eye, especially strong basic chemicals.  Immediately rinse the eye for 10 mins and then seek the care of an eye professional. 

I spilled some chemical in my eye, should I remove my contacts or leave them in?

Having CLs in your eye may actually afford a small amount of protection to the eye with respect to chemicals that were splashed. If you are unfortunate to get chemicals in the eye while wearing CL’s, IMMEDIATELY remove the contact lenses and rinse the eye as per above.  Do NOT wear the CL again.

Scratches

My child scratched my eye...what should I do?

If you think the scratch is on your eye itself, it is best to seek the care of an eye doctor for the best treatment.

Is a scratch on the eye dangerous?

The answer is “it depends.”  Most injuries heal without any long-term damage.  However, any injury can become infected.  If you have pain, sensitivity to light or blurred vision it is best to seek the care of a trained eye care professional.

Trauma

Should I visit an eye doctor if I got a black eye?

Although most shiners are just simple bruises any damage to the eye can cause problems to the eye that you may not be aware of.  Some of these issues put the patient at risk for long-term complications such as glaucoma or retinal detachments.   Your vision is too important to not have it checked by an eye doctor. 

I have pain in my eye after getting a black eye, should I visit the emergency room or an eye doctor?

In this case, like many others, the best medical professional to care for your eye injury is an eye doctor.  There are many reasons for this potential pain and many emergency rooms lack the specialized equipment to diagnose or treat these injuries.  In fact, even if a person does go to the ER, the treating physician will normally refer the patient to an eye doctor anyway so it makes sense to start at the eye doctor’s office and safe yourself the time and money.

Severe Emergencies

I just lost my vision in one eye, should I visit the emergency room?

Probably not. Unless this was caused by such a severe injury that you are going there anyway, the ER is usually not the best place to go for eye injuries.  In fact, it is very common for patients to visit an ER for eye infections, abrasions etc only to be sent to an eye doctor to be cared for more appropriately.  Loss of vision is a serious thing and it requires a same day appointment to determine the cause.

I am seeing double, should I go to the eye doctor?

A sudden onset of double vision can be very serious.  In fact, there are life threatening conditions that can cause this.  Don’t delay on this one.