When you experience an eye emergency which could pose a threat to your sight, it’s time to forget all about “why” and “how” it happened, and start focusing on the “what” you need to do. Following any trauma, it’s imperative that quick and decisive action is taken, to maximise your chances of making a full recovery.
If you are concerned about any eye emergency whatsoever, be sure to contact your optometrist and arrange an emergency appointment: we’ll fit you in as soon as possible and perform a complete evaluation of your eye health and vision.
However they come to be, eye emergencies are always a worrying experience. Let’s look at the most common problems and what action to take.
The first thing to do if you spill any chemical onto your eyeball is to run it under a lukewarm tap. Do this for 15 minutes, and start as soon as physically possible after the incident, even if that means jumping in the shower fully-clothed. This will rinse your eye of the chemical and bolster your chances of having only superficial damage to your eye.
From there, visit your optometrist for an emergency appointment to to the nearest emergency room. Try to bring the chemical in question as well, as this may accelerate treatment at the other end.
Even if you don’t lose consciousness, any serious knocks to the head or eyes should be followed up with an appointment. Don’t drive yourself: take public transport, walk or have a friend drive you. If possible, bring that friend to the appointment regardless, just in case your symptoms worsen during the journey.
This is commonly metal, or organic material embedded in the cornea or conjunctiva. This can be very painful, but is easily removed by an optometrist at the slit lamp.
Any sudden loss of sight (in either eye, or both) should be treated as an absolute emergency. Visit your optometrist as soon as possible so they can diagnose the problem. Your optometrist will properly and quickly diagnose the cause and determine appropriate next steps.
Simple measures like always wearing your protective goggles can make a massive difference to your eye health. Every day, 700 Canadians suffer eye injuries at work, a huge number of which result in trips to the hospital.
Full adherence to health and safety procedures should be able to wipe out the vast majority of these cases. Too often people think there’s “no real risk” involved and neglect their personal protective equipment: if the preventative measures are in place, then there is a potential risk.
We are all victim to bad luck now and then, but by being proactive we can substantially better our odds of remaining injury-free!