Types of Eye Emergencies
Our eyes are incredibly fragile organs surrounded by protective bone. Even minor injuries to your eye can have permanent consequences.
In cases of chemical exposure, rinsing the eyes thoroughly under clean running water for at least 15 minutes is recommended. If you are wearing contact lenses, you should remove them.
If a foreign object has become lodged in or punctured the eye, please do not remove it. Cover both eyes with an opaque cloth and keep looking directly ahead if possible. Please call 911 immediately as this is a medical emergency that may require immediate surgery.
Sudden Loss of Vision
Any sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes should be treated with urgency by a professional. Sudden loss of vision may occur from such issues as severe migraines to a stroke inside your eye.
The only way to know the difference is to have an optometrist investigate immediately. If the issue is severe, we may refer you to a specialist to ensure rapid and effective treatment is delivered.
Heavy impact to the eyes or bone structure around your eye can cause serious issues, such as pressure buildup inside the eye and retinal bruising.
A hard enough impact may cause your retina to detach. If you have experienced a sudden impact to the face, head, or neck, and begin to experience changes in your vision, please contact us immediately to book an emergency appointment.
Cuts & Scratches
Cuts to the eyes or eyelids are also considered emergencies. Cuts or scratches on vulnerable areas are susceptible to infection, so it is important to have them addressed as soon as possible.
Flashes & Floaters
Floaters are dark specks in the form of dots, circles, or lines that appear to move across your field of vision. They are most noticeable when you are looking at a light-coloured background, and seem to move when you look in different directions. Floaters are tiny clumps of material that float around the fluid inside your eyes, called the vitreous. They come between the light entering your pupil and the retina, casting shadows onto your field of vision.
Most of the time, floaters are few and far between and a completely natural occurrence within your eyes. However, if a sudden rise of floaters appears in your vision, this can be an early sign of a more serious condition.
Flashes look like flashing lights or lightning streaks in your field of vision. They commonly appear in your peripheral vision and typically only affect 1 eye at a time. The gel-like fluid inside your eye can sometimes pull or push on the retina, depending on a varying range of issues. However, as the vitreous pushes and pulls, your brain will see those motions as quick flashes of light.
An example of what flashes look like is to close your eyes and gently rub across the eyelid. The grey-white lights seen are what flashes look like.
When are floaters & flashes serious?
Sometimes, a sudden flurry of flashes will appear in your eyes and will decrease after about 10 minutes, followed by a severe headache. These types of flashes are known as migraine flashes, and are harmless to your vision, albeit uncomfortable.
However, if you get a sudden series of flashes with a corresponding rise in floaters in your vision, contact Vision Care Centre for an emergency exam, as this could be symptomatic of a retinal tear.
If part of your vision blacks out, but you can still “see” flashes, this may be an eye emergency, and an immediate appointment is recommended.
At Vision Care Centre, we are here to help protect and preserve your vision.