Eye Infections & Emergencies

Eye emergencies can be caused by trauma, chemical exposure, burns, infections, or an acute progression of a known or undiagnosed disease. They require prompt specialist treatment to limit any damage to the anatomy of the eye and potential vision deterioration or loss.

Some of the most common eye emergencies include:

Eye Trauma: Any injury to the eye can potentially threaten vision. Such incidences range from a mild corneal scratch to puncture wounds or a foreign object within the eye, through to serious trauma that causes extreme disruption to the tissues of and around the eye.

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Chemical exposure: This might be in the form of liquids, gases, fumes, or aerosols. No matter what the substance, prompt decontamination is required

Burns: Any burns to the eyes or face warrants immediate attention. Burns can be caused by direct heat, scalding water, hot oil, or other hot substances.
Retinal detachment: While this can happen gradually, a sudden retinal detachment is an acute emergency. It occurs when the retina pulls away from the interior surface within the eye, causing symptoms that include flashes of light or the sudden appearance of floaters. You might also experience a shadow or curtain that intrudes from the outside of the eye towards the center.
Acute glaucoma: This is when the pressure within the eye rises suddenly, reducing blood flow and compressing the optic nerve. Symptoms can be severe and include pain, redness, nausea and vomiting, and visual disturbances.
Retinal artery or vein occlusion: Caused when the blood vessels within the eye become blocked. While often painless, it leads to a sudden loss of vision.

No matter what the cause, any sudden changes in vision, severe eye pain, trauma, or swelling warrants immediate care from an emergency eye doctor.

How Do I Know if I Need an Emergency Eye Doctor Near Me?

Any sudden, severe problems that affect one or both eyes should be considered an emergency. Eye or eyelid injuries will require prompt attention, as do any sudden changes to your vision or acute onset of pain. Those who suffer from various medical conditions, such as diabetes, should be hypervigilant as to any abrupt changes to the function of the eye, seeking out emergency attention if such an incident occurs.Symptoms that warrant emergency eye care include:

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  • Trauma to the eye—burns, penetrating injuries, cuts, scratches, objects within the eye
  • Chemical exposure
  • Sudden vision changes, such as partial or total loss of vision, blurred vision, double vision, intense photophobia (sensitivity to light), changes to central or peripheral vision
  • Intense pain
  • Severe swelling and/or reddening of the white area of the eye
  • Not being able to open one or both eyes

If you don’t have a regular eye doctor, the easiest method to find a local solution is to enter “emergency eye care near me” into a search engine. This will bring up a list of eye doctors in the vicinity. Failing this, you should immediately visit the nearest emergency room.

What Happens During Emergency Eye Care?

Any emergency eye care needed will be determined by the reason behind the problem. Treatment for trauma depends on the extent of the injury. For instance, a small foreign object that’s caused a small scratch or abrasion to the cornea will need to be flushed out. A dressing or eye patch  will probably be applied, and you’ll need to wear it  for a few days while the injury heals. You may also be given eye drops to target any bacteria or fungus that might have been introduced to the eye.

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Severe trauma can warrant a variety of treatments, ranging from stitches through to surgery if the situation demands it. Treatments for burns and chemical incidences will also be dependent on the severity of the injury. Eye emergencies, such as retinal detachment and acute glaucoma, often require surgical intervention. Following various diagnostic tests, this might include one of a variety of treatments, including laser surgery. The key point is that an eye specialist—known as an ophthalmologist—promptly assesses the exact cause of the emergency. Once this initial step is taken, appropriate emergency treatment can be instigated to prevent further damage to the function of the eye.

Eye Infections & Emergencies | Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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

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