When it comes to your eyes, it’s not so easy to take a breath and consider whether a bit of redness or discomfort is an emergency or not.
So, is it?
The answer may be in a study undertaken by the University of Michigan, which revealed that less than 7% of eye-related emergency room visits were true emergencies. What’s more, nearly one in four eye-related ER visits during the study period were for mild, common, non-emergency conditions like pink eye and puffy eyelids.
At Laredo Emergency Room, we see our fair share of non-emergency eye complaints like pink eye, too, so we want to help our patients avoid unnecessary visits to the emergency room by sharing with you more insight on how to tell whether what’s bothering your eyes is a real emergency.
When to Seek Treatment
We recommend you come to Laredo Emergency Room for emergency eye care for the following eye symptoms:
* Sudden light sensitivity, vision loss, or blurring of vision in one or both eyes, with or without pain
* The sudden appearance of floaters, flashes of light, or the appearance of a dark spot in the vision
* Eyes that suddenly don’t move together or pupils that are dilated/constricted unequally
* An object in your eye that won’t come out after irrigation
* A bulging eye
* Bleeding in or from the eye
* Severe pain, swelling, and redness, with or without other symptoms such as nausea
* Severe headaches, especially with affected vision
* Physical injury, such as penetration, scraping, cuts, or burns to the eye, or chemical injury to the eye
Preventing Eye Emergencies
Because symptoms such as fatigue, muscle aches, and headaches can also indicate health issues that can ultimately affect your vision, Laredo Emergency Room recommends that you have regular visits with a primary care physician to make sure chronic conditions are kept under control or caught and treated early.
Regular visits to an ophthalmologist or optometrist also can help catch problems like glaucoma before it damages your sight. You can also prevent serious eye conditions and injuries by wearing protective eye safety goggles or sport glasses during a variety of activities such as working with tools and heavy equipment, activities like biking, sports that involve flying objects such as tennis, racquetball, or baseball, and hobbies like woodworking. Washing your hands can prevent the spread of germs that cause the common cold and also prevent the spread of eye infections, too.
Eye First Aid
In the instance that you do experience an eye injury, there are steps you can take right away before heading to the emergency room. These include:
* Shielding the eye with something like a cup that won’t put pressure on the eye if it is injured
* Cold compress applied to an eye that has been struck with a blunt object
* Irrigation with water for 20-30 minutes for eyes splashed with chemicals. This can be done by holding your eye open with your fingers while placing your eye under a faucet of running water.
Where to Go for Eye Emergency
We know in the midst of an eye emergency that thinking about where to go adds even more stress to an already stressful situation.
Laredo Emergency Room is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.