Is This an Eye Emergency? How to Know and if Your Optometrist Can Help

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Have you suffered an impact, scratch, or chemical burn to your eye? Wondering if what you're dealing with classifies as an eye emergency? Here's how to know courtesy of our Calgary optometrist.


It can be tough knowing whether your current eye injury or ailment requires emergency eye care. Quickly searching online to find the answer may return conflicting answers, such as needing to visit your optometrist, having to head to the ER, or just simply flushing your eye out with water. 

At Specs in the City Optometry, we understand the worry and concern that accompanies a serious eye injury or chemical burn. That's why we've created this quick guide to provide you with more information about what you should do for your specific situation, so you can seek the proper care you require.
 

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Specs in the City Optometry provides children, adult, and senior eye exams in SE Calgary to help safeguard your sight and overall ocular health. Our experienced optometrists use the latest technology to quickly and accurately diagnose any eye conditions you may be suffering from, so treatment may commence right away. Contact us today to book your eye exam or dry eye care appointment, and let us help you adjust your focus so you can see clearly and comfortably again! 

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How to Know If You're Experiencing an Eye Emergency

While different eye injuries or problems carry a wide range of symptoms, there are some that you should seek immediate emergency eye care for. These symptoms include:

  • Loss of vision
  • Double vision
  • Bleeding from your eye
  • Different sized pupils
  • Swelling
  • Eye pain that doesn't decrease on its own
  • Eye pain that is accompanied by a headache

If you ever experience redness, swelling, or pain in your eye after suffering trauma to it or getting a foreign object or chemical in it, you should also seek immediate emergency eye care. Not seeking treatment right away could make the problem worse or damage your eye further, which could result in permanent vision loss or blindness.

If you have suffered a scratch to your eye, you may require emergency care as well. It's important that you not rub your eye after suffering a suspected scratch, as this may make the scratch even worse. You should instead try to blink rapidly in an attempt to dislodge or remove the debris. 

One way you can check your eye to see if you can spot the debris is by washing your hands thoroughly and flipping your eyelids so you can see underneath them. Use a cotton swab to flip your top one down but do so carefully. You may also use artificial tears to try and flush your eye out, which may remove the offending piece of material. If that doesn't work and your discomfort or pain persists, you should seek emergency eye care as soon as you can.

If you think you're experiencing an eye emergency, call Specs in the City Optometry right now, and our staff can triage your eye concern to determine if you require emergency eye care from one of our optometrists. Emergency eye care is covered under the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan. Our staff can also let you know if your situation meets the criteria for free care.

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Avoiding Any Further Damage

After injuring your eye, it's critical that you don't cause any further damage to it. The most important things to avoid include:

  • Rubbing the injured eye
  • Removing your contacts if you wear them (unless you've suffered a chemical injury or are experiencing rapid swelling)
  • Taking any foreign object that has become embedded in your eye out
  • The use of cotton swabs or tweezers directly on your eye

A large portion of eye injuries can be successfully treated without lasting consequences, so long as you receive immediate emergency eye care. If not treated, certain eye injuries can result in permanent damage such as vision loss or blindness.
 

Call Your Optometrist First

The most important thing you can do after experiencing an eye injury or getting chemicals in your eye is to call your Calgary optometrist right away. They can triage your concern and best advise you on what you must do next.

Optometrists are trained and well-equipped to deal with eye emergencies and can often treat most of them within their clinic. If your eye concern requires care from the on-call ophthalmologist or you need to go to the ER, your Calgary optometrist will be able to determine this and direct you towards either.
 

Contact Us Today

If you're worried you may have suffered an emergent eye concern, contact Specs in the City Optometry right away. Simply give us a call at 403-252-2020 to speak to one of our staff and we can triage your situation accordingly. If you don't believe your eye concern is urgent but would still like to seek our professional opinion on it, please fill out our online contact form and someone will be in touch shortly.

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