Your eyes are precious and safeguarding their health is paramount. But accidents happen and the steps you take (and don’t take) immediately after can make all the difference -- and may even preserve your sight.
At Retina Specialists, our team of experienced ophthalmologists routinely handles eye emergencies of all kinds, from trauma to chemical burns. Since your eyes are extremely sensitive organs, even the most minor scratch can become a larger problem if you don’t provide and seek the right care from the start.
To help you better handle an eye emergency, we’ve pulled together a few of the more common scenarios and what you should and shouldn’t do before you reach us.
If you’re working around chemicals, whether it’s spraying for hornets or using household cleaning products, if some of the irritant gets into your eye, you should immediately rinse it out.
If you can get to a faucet, that’s best — turn the tap water on and let it run over the surface of your eye. If you aren’t near a water source, grab a bottle of water or any drinkable liquid and rinse your eye. The longer the chemical stays on your eye, the more damage it may do, so quick rinsing is imperative.
Trauma to your eye
Your eyes are very well protected by your brows, which are designed to take the impact of any blow that threatens them. Sometimes, however, the trauma can reach your eye, in which case you should apply a cold compress as soon as possible. Don’t put any pressure on the compress, but let it simply rest on top to cool your eye and keep inflammation down.
An object in your eye
We all get things in our eyes from time to time, and your lids and tears do a great job of flushing out these small specs. If something larger lodges itself in your eye, however, do not try to remove it and don’t rinse the area. Instead, find a paper cup if you can and shield your eye so that the object isn’t jostled. Then get in to see us.
A scratch or cut to your eye
If you’re unable to blink in time to avoid having your eye scratched by a twig or something similar, it’s important that you do NOT do anything until you see us. Instead, protect your eye with a paper cup or drinking glass until one of our doctors can take a look.
Pressure in your eye
If you sustain an injury, or you have glaucoma and your eye bulges, it’s important that you protect your eye and get in to see us as quickly as possible. You can apply a cold compress, without any pressure, which may help with your discomfort.
In each of these scenarios, at the same time as you’re taking steps to mitigate the problem, you should be contacting us so that we can get you the right care. If you’re in severe pain, however, get yourself to the nearest emergency room straight away.
If you have any questions about how to handle an eye emergency or you’re wondering whether you even have an emergency on your hands, contact one of our five offices in Dallas, DeSoto, Plano, Mesquite, and Waxahachie, Texas.