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When to Seek Medical Care for Eye Trauma

Every year, more than 2 million Americans experience eye trauma. These injuries can occur at any time, whether you’re playing a contact sport, working on a DIY project, or even taking an evening jog around your neighborhood.

At Retina Specialists in Dallas, DeSoto, Plano, Mesquite, and Waxahachie, Texas, our team of expert ophthalmologists is committed to protecting your eye health and your sight. In addition to providing outstanding eye care, we also want to help you learn about your eye health so you can make the best decisions for you and your family.

Let’s explore some common ocular injuries and what you should do if you or a family member has an eye trauma. 

Common types of eye trauma

Your eyes are delicate, and you can injure them in many ways. Fortunately, recognizing an emergency and taking prompt action can save your vision. 

Chemical injuries

We’ve all gotten soap or shampoo in our eyes in the shower. While these products are usually formulated to minimize eye irritation, you still flush them out immediately, which is precisely what you should do if you get a cleaning product in your eye. 

Small foreign objects

If you get something tiny, like sand, dust, or even a gnat in your eye, don’t rub your eye, no matter how much it itches. Try blinking to clear your eye or use artificial tear eye drops to flush your eye. You can use clean, cool water to rinse your eye, if necessary.

Black eyes

You can apply ice packs to your eyes if something strikes you on or around your eye. You might get a black eye from a sports accident, during an automobile collision, or if you fall or stumble and smash your face into something hard. Black eyes are also common injuries in an assault.

Ignore the old wives’ tale to put a steak on a black eye, as this just spreads bacteria and increases your risk of infection. 

When to call your ophthalmologist

You should call us for help if you have an eye injury that you can’t take care of with at-home first aid. For example, if you have something small stuck in your eye and can’t rinse it out at home, we can help.

Similarly, if you get a black eye but have additional symptoms like increased floaters or flashes, you should contact us immediately as these symptoms could indicate a retinal tear or detachment.

Other signs that you should contact us for an ocular injury include:

You should never ignore an eye injury. If first aid isn’t enough or you have persistent symptoms, it’s time for medical attention.

If you cut or scratch your eye, call us. We can evaluate your injury and determine if you should come into our office for immediate treatment or go to the emergency room for medical care. 

When to go to the emergency room

There are some situations when going straight to the emergency room is your best option. For example, if a large foreign object, like a shard of glass or piece of metal, gets stuck in your eye, don’t touch it or try to remove it. Call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room for immediate professional help.

Additionally, if you get a strong acidic or alkaline chemical, like drain cleaner or lime, in your eye, go to the emergency room right away. These products can cause permanent damage if not treated immediately and correctly.

If you have an eye injury and aren’t sure what to do, call us for help and advice. Taking prompt action can preserve your vision in an emergency. You can also schedule an appointment with us for follow-ups and routine eye care.

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