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Types of Eye Emergencies

Medical emergencies can occur at any time. They can also affect any part of the body, including your eyes. Our vision is one of our most important senses, facilitating everything we do each day from moving around to cooking, working to participating in our favorite hobbies. Our eyesight also keeps us safe from danger, helps us to communicate and live an active and fulfilling life. Nevertheless, if a medical emergency that affects our eyes arises, it’s crucial to get help as quickly as possible. The sooner the problem is identified, the more quickly treatment can begin and the less of an impact your eye emergency will have on your quality of life.


Here’s what you need to know about the different types of eye emergencies and why it is important for you to make an urgent visit to your eye doctor.


What Causes Eye Injuries?


Some eye emergencies arise as a result of an injury to your eye. Although eye injuries can occur at any time, there are some jobs and activities that increase your likelihood of experiencing them. These include:


  • Construction

  • Carpentry

  • Manufacturing

  • Mining

  • Welding

  • Plumbing

  • Electrical work

  • Auto-repair

  • General maintenance

  • Contact sports

  • Gardening


If you take part in any of these activities, it’s important that you take adequate steps to protect your eyes from injury by using protective goggles or glasses. If you are not sure which eye protection to use, speak to your eye doctor for advice.


Common Types of Eye Emergencies


There are many different types of eye emergencies. Here are some of the most common eye emergencies that we see at our vision health center.


Something Lodged in Your Eye


Most of us have something get into our eyes at some point. Usually, it’s an eyelash, a bit of dirt, a fast-flying bug, or some other tiny object that can be removed by quickly rubbing or rinsing our eye. However, sometimes these actions are unsuccessful or simply shouldn’t be performed, such as if you get something sharp lodged in your eye, since rubbing it will cause significantly more damage. If something large, sharp, or stubborn gets lodged in your eye, cover it with a shield such as an upturned paper cup and see your emergency eye doctor.


Chemical Burns to The Eyes


Not everything that gets into our eyes is necessarily an object. Sometimes it’s possible to transfer a substance either directly or indirectly into our eyes. Cleaning products, paint, glue, chlorine, hair dye… these are just some of the substances that can potentially cause chemical burns if they come into contact with the delicate tissue of your eyes or the eyes themselves. Rinse immediately, but still get in contact with your eye doctor right away and ask to be seen as an emergency. This could help prevent permanent damage to your vision.


Pink/Red Eyes


There are many things that can cause your eye to become pink or red. This redness can affect the skin around the eyes, the conjunctiva which is the soft inner lining of the eyelids, and the white part of the eye itself called the sclera. Your eye can look red when the blood vessels in the conjunctiva become dilated, such as when your eye is irritated. However, they can also appear red if you develop conjunctivitis, which is sometimes referred to as pinkeye. There are different types of conjunctivitis – viral, bacterial, and fungal – and the treatment you will be given will depend on the type that you have. For example, bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated using antibiotic eye drops, but this treatment will be ineffective against viral conjunctivitis. Some types of conjunctivitis are highly contagious, so it is important that you speak to your eye doctor as soon as possible to start treatment.


Sudden Changes to Your Vision


Sometimes our vision can become very blurred or otherwise compromised for no obvious reason. You may find that you see double, have floaters or flashing in your vision, have a headache, severe eye pain or are particularly tired. If you experience any sudden changes to your vision, it’s important not to ignore them and to visit your emergency eye doctor as soon as possible.


We are equipped to deal with all types of eye emergencies. If you experience a problem with your eyes or vision, call our professional team at Kennedy Vision Health Center in Elk River or Plymouth Minnesota immediately to get the help that you need and that could ensure that you preserve your long-term vision.  


Learn more about the different types of emergencies, contact Kennedy Vision Health Center in Elk River (763) 441-0205 or Plymouth, MN (763) 545-8850.

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