Eye Emergencies

Eye Emergencies

Eye Emergencies

Eye emergencies cover a range of incidents and conditions such as; trauma, cuts, scratches, foreign objects in the eye, burns, chemical exposure, photic retinopathy, and blunt injuries to the eye or eyelid. Since the eye is easily damaged, serious complications can occur from an eye injury thus, any of these conditions without proper treatment can lead to a partial loss of vision or even permanent blindness. Likewise, certain eye infections, other medical conditions, such as blood clots or glaucoma, and eye problems such as a painful red eye or vision loss that are not due to injury also need urgent medical attention.
 

Depending on the type of injury, any of the following symptoms may be present:

  • Bleeding or other discharge from or around the eye

  • Bruising

  • Decreased vision

  • Double vision

  • Loss of vision, total or partial, in one eye or both

  • Pupils of unequal size

  • Eye pain

  • New or severe headaches

  • Itchy eyes

  • Redness or bloodshot appearance

  • A sensation of something in the eye

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Stinging or burning in the eye

  • One eye is not moving like the other

  • One eye is sticking out or bulging

  • Nausea or headache occurring with eye pain (this may be a symptom of glaucoma or stroke).


A black eye is usually caused by direct trauma to the eye or face, causing a bruise resulting from bleeding under the skin. The skin around the eye turns black and blue, gradually becoming purple, green, and yellow over several days. Swelling of the eyelid and tissues around the eye may also occur. The abnormal color usually disappears within 2 weeks.

A blow to the eye can potentially damage the inside of the eye. Trauma is also a common cause of hyphemia, which is blood inside the front of the eye and is often due to a direct hit to the eye from a ball. Besides, certain types of skull fractures can cause bruising around the eyes, even without direct injury to the eye.

A chemical injury to the eye can be caused by a work-related accident, common household products such as cleaning solutions, garden chemicals, solvents, or other types of chemicals. Fumes and aerosols can also cause chemical burns. With acid burns, the haze on the cornea often clears and there is a good chance of recovery. However, alkaline substances such as lime, lye, drain cleaners, and sodium hydroxide found in refrigeration equipment may cause permanent damage to the cornea. It is important to flush out the eye with large amounts of clean water or salt water (saline).

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