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When is Eye Pain an Emergency?

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When is Eye Pain an Emergency?

Have you ever experienced eye pain, scratched your eye, or hit your head and wondered if you need emergency eye care

If you’re experiencing an eye emergency, emergency care can save you from unnecessary pain, protect your vision, and limit damage to your eyes. 

It can be difficult to tell when you need emergency eye care, but our team is here to help you. To effectively assist you, please call our office first at (204) 809-4322 before you stop in. 

Read on to learn more about what constitutes an eye emergency, what to do in an emergency, and how your optometrist can help you. 

What is an Eye Emergency?

Your eyes can be easily damaged, so it’s important to be able to recognize an eye emergency.

A number of eye injuries can occur that require immediate medical care. If you’ve experienced any of the following injuries, visit your nearest medical clinic right away:

  • A cut or scratch to your eye
  • A foreign object in your eye
  • Chemical exposure
  • Trauma to your eyes, head, or neck 
  • Severe eye infection 

Symptoms of an Eye Emergency 

Eye emergencies cover a range of incidents and conditions, each associated with various symptoms. 

You should call your eye doctor if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of vision or sudden blurred vision 
  • Severe pain, burning, or stinging
  • Different sized pupils 
  • One of your eyes is not moving like the other
  • Bulging eyes 
  • Double vision
  • Severe redness, irritation, or itching
  • Sudden sensitivity to light 
  • Bruising around the eye
  • Bleeding or discharge from the eye
  • New or severe headaches
An older woman holding the side of her face by her eye due to pain

How to Tell When Eye Pain is an Emergency

If you have eye pain, it may not always be an emergency. So how can you tell when your eye pain requires emergency eye care?

If you feel as if your eye pain isn’t severe, you can call your optometrist to see if you need emergency eye care or if it can wait until your next appointment. 

If left untreated, certain eye injuries can damage your eye, cause vision loss, and even lead to more serious medical conditions. If your eye doctor is unable to help at that time, visit your nearest emergency room.

You may need emergency eye care if you have: 

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sudden change in vision
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Halos around lights
  • Trouble moving your eye or an inability to keep it open
  • Blood or pus coming from your eyes

When it comes to your vision and eye health, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. If you’re wondering if you need emergency eye care, contact the team at Henderson Vision Centre.

Tips for Preventing an Eye Injury

Eye injuries and accidents can happen anytime, anywhere, and to anyone. Whether you’re at home, at work, participating in an athletic event, or playing with your kids on the playground, it’s important to take the steps to protect your eyes. 

There are steps you can take to decrease your risk of eye injuries. Here are some tips to prevent accidents that can damage your eyes:

  • Wear protective eyewear in high-risk situations, like when using power tools or participating in sporting events 
  • Always read & follow the directions when working with chemicals or cleaning supplies
  • Teach your child about eye safety
  • Supervise your child and childproof your home
  • Use caution when cooking with grease and oil

What to Do in an Emergency

While you may be tempted to treat the injury yourself, only professional medical care can ensure you don’t suffer from serious complications or side effects.

No matter what emergency symptoms you’ve noticed, be sure to never:

  • Rub or apply pressure to your eye
  • Attempt to remove foreign objects that are stuck in your eye
  • Use tweezers or any other tools in your eye
  • Put medications or ointments in your eye

If you believe you are experiencing an eye emergency, please call our office first so we can prepare adequately and assess the situation.

Our team at Henderson Vision is here to help. Contact us at (204) 809-4322.

Written by Dr. Lindsey Melo

Dr. Melo joined our team in 2010 and has been an important part of our team ever since. She brings her expertise from her experience working with an ophthalmologist in Ontario and her present position with Focus on Falls, performing comprehensive vision care in Winnipeg’s nursing homes. Dr. Melo has travelled extensively and has volunteered in India at a local eye hospital. Her husband is from Mexico, and she has 2 young boys. She is a “foodie” and makes great desserts!
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