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What is Considered an Eye Emergency?

Eye emergencies come in two categories: Injury and those caused by clinical conditions. Both can be sight-threatening, not to mention very frightening to experience. True eye emergencies require immediate treatment. The following defines some of the more common causes of eye emergencies.

What is Considered an Eye Emergency? Injury and trauma

  •     Causes
  •     Symptoms
  •     Prevention


Trauma to the eye can be caused by a blow, a foreign object, cuts, scratches, burns, or chemicals. A serious injury requires immediate specialist attention. In such cases, you should refrain from touching the eye, don’t try to remove an object embedded in the eye, don’t apply any ointments or medication, and leave any contact lenses in-situ.With chemical contamination, you should immediately attempt to flush as much out as possible using clean, warm water. In all severe eye emergencies, you should refrain from applying any pressure to the eye. If possible, cover both eyes with a loose dressing (this prevents unnecessary movement of the injured eye) and seek professional assistance without delay.


Symptoms of a serious eye injury include:

  •     Bleeding from the eye
  •     New or severe headache
  •     One eye is moving differently to the other
  •     Severe burning and pain
  •     Loss of vision
  •     Unequal pupils
  •     Double vision
  •     Severe photosensitivity
  •     Severe bruising
  •     Swelling or bulging to the eye


Injuries to the eye often occur when carrying out DIY or physical work tasks, during sports, or other high-risk activities. However, they can also happen when you least expect them, especially in the case of children.The following are some sensible preventative measures:

  •     Wear eye protection during sport or using power tools
  •     Don’t attend amateur firework events
  •     Keep sharp objects out of reach of young children
  •     Pay strict attention to instructions when using cleaning products, chemicals, etc.
  •     Take precautions to safeguard against cooking oil and hot fat splashes
  •     Provide barriers against sharp edges if there are young children in the home

What is Considered an Eye Emergency? Clinical conditions

  •     Different types of clinical emergencies
  •     Prevention

Different types of clinical eye emergencies

While the following are relatively rare, all require immediate attention to prevent severe visual impairment or loss of vision.

  •     Orbital cellulitis: This is where an infection (usually stemming from a sinus infection) that spreads into the orbit of the eye. Because the strong muscles of the eye form a cone, the resulting swelling will push the eye forward, giving it a ‘popping out’ appearance.
  •     Retinal detachment: This is where the retina detaches within the eye and is usually accompanied by an increasing amount of eye flashes, floaters, or other degradation of vision. Migraine can also be a symptom of retinal detachment.
  •     Acute angle-closure glaucoma: This is where the drainage part of the eye suddenly becomes occluded, causing a sudden and dramatic increase in the pressure of the eye. Symptoms include acute pain, nausea or vomiting, reduced vision, and a reddening of the eye. It requires immediate attention to lower the pressure and prevent further damage.
  •     Central retinal artery occlusion: Usually caused by a plaque of cholesterol, this is a sudden blockage that prevents oxygenation of the retina. It can result in permanent blindness. Such an event is usually heralded by a sudden, painless loss of vision.


By far the best prevention against such clinical emergencies is to undergo regular eye examinations. This means that most conditions can be caught at an early stage, monitored, and any necessary treatment put in place to prevent or slow deterioration. Should such a situation occur, you should immediately seek expert help. Any delay could result in unfavorable outcomes such as a reduced visual acuity or, worst-case scenario, complete and permanent blindness.

Contact the West Boca Eye Center Now for Emergency and Routine Eyecare

In times of emergency, you need the trusted care of the very best eye health clinicians. Dr. Brent Bellotte is trusted around the world for his expertise, and he and his team at the West Boca Eye Center provide the ultimate in both emergency and routine eye care.Your vision is the most precious of all senses, so it’s vital to ensure the very best care possible. Get in touch via and book your appointment now.

What is Considered an Eye Emergency?
What is Considered an Eye Emergency?

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West Boca Eye Center
9325 Glades Road, Suite 201.
Boca Raton, FL 33434

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