Oak Hill Eye Care provides emergency services for eye infections and eye injuries. Please call our office during business hours and our staff will work with you to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. If you experience a true ocular emergency outside office hours, you may call our office at 512-288-0444 and follow the instructions regarding after hours emergency care.
What is an Eye Emergency?
Generally speaking, an eye emergency refers to any event or situation that causes you to think your eyesight may be at risk. This may include:
- Physical trauma
- Foreign object stuck in the eye
- Persistent pain in one or both eyes
- Sudden partial or complete vision loss
- Persistent flashes or streaks of light in your field of vision
- Sudden eye discharge, crusting or uncontrollable tearing
It’s important to note that if you are experiencing an eye emergency, you should never attempt to drive yourself to our office or a hospital for treatment. Even if your vision isn’t currently affected, the physician may end up administering drops that will affect your vision.
If you are unable to find a friend or relative to drive you, call a taxi or an ambulance.
Physical injuries are one of the primary reasons for emergency eye care treatment. Sometimes the injuries are relatively minor and sometimes they are substantial, but the delicate nature of the eye requires emergency care for a wide range of injuries.
Corneal abrasion, also known as a scratched eyeball is one of the most common eye injury emergencies. Abrasions to the surface of the eye can be caused by being poked, by falling down or unintentionally rubbing a foreign body into your eye, to name a few. A simple scratch can lead to something far more serious, so it’s important to seek emergency treatment.
More serious injuries such as objects actually penetrating your eyes require immediate emergency care. It’s also important to note that you should never try to remove any foreign object that has penetrated your eye. If possible, loosely tape the eye or place a paper cup or similar item over it for protection, then seek treatment.
One of the most frightening eye injuries occurs when chemicals are accidentally splashed into the eyes. The substance may be acidic or it may be alkaline, but if it’s a chemical it has no business being in your eyes. Different chemicals have different effects and consequences, so it’s imperative to flush your eyes with clean water. Call for emergency care immediately with the product close by and follow the instructions precisely.
Naturally, prevention is the best way to protect your eyes from serious injury. Using protective eyewear when performing activities that may result in flying debris is a key prevention technique. It’s also important to protect your eyes from direct sunlight and any other bright lights that may lead to eye damage.
Eye infections are another common cause of eye emergencies. An infection doesn’t usually require treatment as promptly as a serious injury, but quick attention is always a good idea. Some of the more common eye infections include:
- Conjunctivitis – This infection is also called pink eye and it’s a contagious infection that’s common among children.
- Fungal Keratitus – This is a fungal infection that has been associated with Fusarium fungi found in organic matter. A 2006 outbreak was also linked with a specific contact lens solution that has since been taken off the market.
- Acanthamoeba Keratitus – People who wear contact lenses are most at risk for this eye infection, as it is caused by parasites that enter the eye. Swimming while wearing contacts is one risk factor for this serious infection that has the potential to cause permanent vision loss.
- Endophthalmitis – This type of eye infection may result in blindness if treatment isn’t sought in a timely fashion. It is an infection that penetrates the interior of your eye, and can occur as a result of a penetrating eye injury. In rare cases, endophthalmitis may occur after eye surgery.
Most common eye infections are caused by hand to eye contact, so it’s always important to keep your hands clean and your children’s hands clean if you’re around someone you suspect has an eye infection. It’s also wise not to rub your own eyes, even if your hands are clean.
The main thing to remember when faced with an eye emergency is not to panic. This usually leads to rubbing and digging at whatever is in your eyes, which can lead to permanent damage or vision loss. Flush out your eyes if they’ve been exposed to chemicals and contact our office or your local emergency room to determine what course of action to take in any eye emergency.