When to Seek Medical Care
The eyes are very sensitive, and even minor trauma can cause severe pain. However, in most cases, the pain subsides within a short time. If you have continuing symptoms of pain, visual disturbance, or bleeding, you should be examined by an eye doctor such as an ophthalmologist (an MD who specializes in eye care and surgery) or optometrist.
You can always call your eye doctor at TSO Woodlands for advice if you are not sure whether you have a serious eye injury.
After hours, in an emergency, call 911 or head straight to the emergency room.
Calling your eye doctor may be helpful in the following circumstances:
Chemical exposures: Flush the eye with lots of water. Make sure the affected eye is down to avoid the chemical dripping into the unaffected eye.
If you are not sure if the exposure is potentially serious, you have washed out your eye, and you have symptoms, then your eye doctor may be able to help you decide whether or not you should be seen immediately.
The following conditions should be seen promptly by an eye doctor or in the emergency department:
- Caustic (strong acid or alkali): If the substance was known to be caustic, immediate medical evaluation by either an ophthalmologist or in the emergency department is needed, regardless of symptoms. Acids and alkalis are the worst and require immediate attention.
- Mild Chemicals: If the substance is not dangerous, such as soap or suntan lotion, a visit to the emergency department is not necessary, but a visit to the ophthalmologist's office may be helpful to alleviate any remaining symptoms. When in doubt, seek medical attention.
Cuts that affect the eyelid margins (where the eyelashes are) or the eyeball itself need immediate medical attention. Foreign bodies that are not removed with gentle washing should be evaluated by an ophthalmologist.
Evaluation by an eye doctor is necessary. This is one condition where there is little that can be done in the emergency department.