When to Seek Emergency Eye Care

Our optometrists can manage many acute eye health related cases. Some of the more severe cases may need attention of an ophthalmologist (a medical doctor who specializes in eye care and surgery) at an emergency department. If you are not sure, call our office for advice.

The following conditions can usually be managed by our optometrists:

  • Acute eye pain and redness: This could be from an infection or from several other conditions. It should be seen promptly, so call our office to arrange an evaluation.
  • Foreign bodies: If you get something in your eye, call our office to see if we can arrange to have it removed promptly.
  • Blurred vision (sudden onset): There can be several causes. It should be assessment promptly, so please call our office.
  • Flashing lights or floating spots (recent onset): This can indicate potential retinal problems. Please call our office to have it assessed promptly.

If you require prompt attention, please call our office and we will do our best to have you seen at our clinic.

The following conditions should be seen immediately by an ophthalmologist or at an emergency department

Chemical exposures: If the substance was known to be caustic, immediate medical evaluation 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, and you could be seen at out clinic.

Lacerations: Cuts that affect the eyelids, especially the eyelid margins (where the eyelashes are), or cuts to the eyeball itself, need immediate medical attention.

Eye injuries involving reduced vision or bone fractures: These should be seen immediately at an emergency department.

Continuing pain and decreased vision after an eye injury can be warning signs that require prompt medical attention.

Complete loss of vision: This requires immediate attention at an emergency ward.

Solar retinopathy: Evaluation by an ophthalmologist is necessary. This is one condition where there is little that can be done in the emergency department.