Emergency Eye Care Quick Question: what do you do if you are working on your yard and accidentally get a wood chip or other foreign object in your eye? Do you:
a) ignore it and hope it works its way out?
b) rush to the emergency ward or urgent care centre of your local hospital?
c) immediately call or come in to your optometrist’s office?
If you answered, b or c, you are on the right track. Surprisingly, when faced with an eye injury, many people don’t think to call or visit their optometrist. But optometrists are eye specialists, and vision care experts. We are trained to treat eye injuries—and our aftercare advice is on point!
You might think most eye injuries are sports or workplace injuries. In fact, nearly half of eye-related injuries occur at home. It can be hard to tell if an injury is minor and fleeting or serious and needing immediate attention.
If you’ve scratched your eye on a foreign object (easy to do when gardening, cleaning, working on the car in the garage, or even playing with the family dog), the rule is: it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Most optometrists would be glad to see you in-office to check an eye injury—and we will do it right away—no endless hours spent waiting in an emergency room. Of course, if your eye doctor is closed, make your way to emergency right away.
One danger with everyday eye injuries is corneal abrasions. If you’ve rubbed your eye when a foreign object is present—think sand at the beach, bugs on a run, or even salt from a popcorn binge—you’ll know that feeling. Corneal abrasions will make your eye uncomfortable, red, and sensitive to light.
The problem is, they can result in infections. Sometimes, we rub our eyes out of instinct. If you feel like you’ve done your eye some damage, it’s best to get it checked out by an optometrist.
The same goes with burns, bleeding, swelling, and penetrations. Chemical burns from splashed liquids such as cooking oils, household chemicals, and other substances can seriously harm your eyes. A thorough rinse or wash with clear water is the appropriate immediate course of action, but you should also seek medical attention.
Again, see your optometrist (no appointment necessary for emergencies) or go directly to your local hospital emergency department. The same goes for foreign objects that have been poked in your eye, and campfire or barbecue burns (they happen). Also, if your eyes swell or bleed, see an optometrist or emergency doctor immediately. The key to protecting your sight could be prompt action.