Annual eye checkups are essential. But there may be times when you’d have to call your eye doctor due to an ocular emergency. Sadly, some eye problems are prone to infection, involve systemic disease, and, worse, lead to permanent vision loss. Clinicians must be able to immediately and correctly recognize the signs and symptoms associated with an eye emergency. It’s also crucial for them to determine the severity of the condition and assess the situation. This way, patients can have the best possible chance of recovery or therapeutic success. Here are the different types of eye emergencies you need to watch out for:
Trauma. Eye trauma is the second most common cause of visual impairment in the United States, just next to cataracts. Any traumatic injury to the eye requires immediate medical attention. A blow to the eye with a hard object like a fist, rock, or baseball can damage the eye, eyelids, muscles, and bones surrounding the eye. Symptoms of traumatic injuries or accidents generally include eye pain, blood in the eyeball, and changes in the pupil or iris shape. Some cases may not show obvious symptoms. That’s why urgent clinical care is crucial.
Chemical Burns. This is another acute eye emergency wherein time is critical. We all know how getting soap or makeup in the eyes can burn a little. But flushing these irritants with clean water should help. Some substances, though, can result in severe burns in your eye. Alkali burns from cleaning products, fertilizers, and plaster or cement are the most hazardous. Acid burns are generally less severe but can still damage the cornea and result in visual impairment. These dangerous acids can be found in vinegar, glass polish, and nail polish remover.
Foreign Body in the Eye. A foreign body is any object on your eye or eyelid or embedded in your eye that shouldn’t be there. It could be an eyelash, dust, a speck of sand, an insect, a lodged pencil, a wood chip, a metal shaving, or a shard of glass. Most eye injuries from a foreign body are minor as they heal without further issues. Without proper care and medical attention, possible complications can occur. These include infection, scratches, abrasions, and scarring. In rare cases, a projectile object can penetrate the eye and pierce the eyeball. This can cause severe injury, or worse, permanent vision loss.
Eye injuries are common in high-risk activities, such as home improvement projects, athletic events, and while at work. But it can happen anywhere, and even in places where you least expect them. To minimize the risk of eye trauma and ocular injuries, you have to childproof your home by cushioning items with sharp edges. You also have to keep sharp instruments and household items containing hazardous chemicals away from children. It’s also vital that you wear protective eyewear when using power tools or engaging in high-risk athletic events.
Learn more about eye emergencies at the Eyecare Center of Martin. Call our clinic today in Martin, Tennessee, at (731) 587-3555 to schedule an appointment.