Eye Emergencies

When you experience an eye emergency, which could pose a threat to your sight, it’s time to take action. Following any trauma, it’s imperative that quick and decisive action is taken, to maximize your chances of making a full recovery.

If you experience an eye emergency, be sure to contact your optometrist and arrange an emergency appointment: we’ll fit you in as soon as possible and perform a thorough evaluation of your eye health and vision.

The Most Common Eye Emergencies

However they happen, eye emergencies are always a worrisome experience. Let’s look at the most common problems and what action to take.

  • Chemical burn – The first thing to do if you spill any chemical into your eyes is to run them under cool tap water. Do this for at least 15 minutes, and start as soon as possible after the incident, even if that means jumping into the shower fully-clothed. This will rinse your eyes of the chemical and bolster your chances of having only superficial damage, easing recovery.

    From there, visit your optometrist for an emergency appointment or proceed to the nearest emergency room. Try to bring the chemical in question, as this may accelerate treatment.

  • Trauma – Any serious knock to the head or eyes should be followed up with an immediate examination.
  • Embedded foreign body – 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. Do not attempt to remove an embedded foreign body yourself.
  • Loss of sight – 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.

Preventative Care Can Stop 90% of Workplace Eye Injuries

Simple measures, like always wearing your safety glasses, 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. Most could have been prevented.

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 there are preventative measures in place, then there is a potential risk.

We are all victims of bad luck now and then, but by being proactive we can substantially better our odds of remaining injury-free!

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