Should I Go To The Emergency Room If My Eye Hurts?

  • By Germaine Shock
  • 05 Apr, 2017

So it’s the weekend and the mild discomfort you were experiencing midweek has now escalated into full blown intense pain. Or maybe you were working on the yard and something flew into your eye? Or perhaps you were wearing your contact lenses for too long and your eye is now extremely red and unhappy. Who do you call? (I’ll give you a hint, it’s not Ghostbusters.) But seriously, should you go to the ER if you injure your eye in some way? The answer might surprise you.

Do These Symptoms Sound Familiar?

Let’s start with some reasons you might find yourself wondering if you should seek medical care. Here are a few common symptoms that warrant a call or visit to your optometrist:

  • Eye pain
  • Redness
  • Irritation from contact lens wear
  • Discharge
  • Eye injuries
  • Foreign objects in the eye
  • Exposure to chemicals and/or other eye irritants
  • Welder’s burn
  • Puffiness or swelling
  • Styes

To Go Or Not To Go?

In most cases, if your pain or injury involves your eye(s) it is always better to see an eye care professional instead of making a trip to the ER. This is true for several reasons. Here’s a few:

  • Not all emergency room or urgent care facilities have the equipment needed to properly examine the eyes.
  • While general practitioners and urgent care physicians have a wealth of knowledge in many different areas of care, Optometrists and Ophthalmologists specialize in vision and eye conditions.
  • A misdiagnosis could cost you your sight.
  • A good majority of the time, you will be referred to an eye doctor anyways, so seeing an eye care professional first will save you time and money.

What To Do Instead

Your first course of action in the event of trauma to the eye or any prolonged discomfort should always be making a call to your optometrist’s office. They will be able to let you know if your symptoms require immediate attention and if there are any special instructions you need to follow such as flushing the eye or removing contact lenses. Under no circumstances, however, should you ever try to treat yourself without specific direction from an eyecare professional. This includes but is not limited to - rubbing your eyes, applying pressure, using prescription or non-prescription drops, and trying to remove objects from the eye yourself.

When A Trip To The ER Is Unavoidable

What if it’s outside of normal business hours? A lot of eyecare offices will have an after hours emergency number listed on their answering machine message that will connect you directly to an eyecare professional. If this is not the case, and you are unable to reach someone, unfortunately going to the emergency room or urgent care might be your best option for prompt treatment. It is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your sight, and emergency room care is better than no care at all. 

Other scenarios that would warrant an immediate trip to the ER are:

  • Injuries involving other parts of the body in addition to the eyes
  • Impalement of the eye
  • Head trauma with suspected concussion or other neurological damage
  • Bleeding from the eye(s)

Protect Those Peepers!

The best way to avoid an unnecessary injury or eye infection is to practice good eye health and safety measures. This includes wearing protective eyewear when in hazardous working conditions, staying on top of your yearly eye exams, protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays with sunglasses, utilizing blue light protective lenses when working on computers or handheld devices, and practicing good hygiene when wearing contact lenses. For more information on eye safety, check out our post here .

Eye-Q

By Germaine Shock 23 Jun, 2017
We have all made a questionable decision or two at least once in our lives. However, when it comes to your eyes and vision, this is one area where it is always better to be safe than sorry. Here are a few of the most common mistakes made by contact lens wearers and a safer alternative to keep those peepers healthy.
By Germaine Shock 14 Jun, 2017

More than likely if you are reading this, you’ve experienced the strange sensation of an eyelid twitch. It can happen anywhere, at any time, and almost always stops the moment you try to point it out to someone else (and of course resumes the second they turn away just to make you look extra crazy). Well you aren’t crazy - at least in this case - eyelid twitches are a real thing!

Myo-what?

Better known in professional lingo as “myokymia”, this twitching sensation is the result of involuntary, spontaneous, rippling muscle contractions. These spasms can actually occur in almost any of the muscles in your body. When relating to the eyelids, myokymia is most common in your lower lids but can happen in your top lids as well.

Eyelid myokymia is typically very temporary. The twitching will usually only last for a few minutes, but in some rare cases can last for a few days or even weeks.

Your doctor will likely advise you that there is no cause for concern as common Myokymia resolves on its own without the need for treatment. Other than causing mild annoyance, the eyelid twitching shouldn’t cause any long term complications or interference with your vision.
By Germaine Shock 01 Jun, 2017

Do your eyes ever feel dry and itchy? Do you ever experience eye fatigue, redness, blurred vision, or excessive watering? You could be suffering from dry eyes - especially if you live in Oklahoma City which ranks as the 17th driest city in the U.S. And despite the name, dry eye isn’t just an annoying feeling - it’s a legitimate chronic eye disease that affects an estimated 4.88 million Americans over the age of 50 alone. And since another estimated 89% of the population have never even heard of Dry Eye Syndrome, it’s easy to see why some would just write off those annoying symptoms as a normal part of their lives.

By Germaine Shock 16 May, 2017

In honor of Mother’s Day kicking off Women’s Week, the Eye- Q blog has decided to dedicate a post solely to women’s eye health related issues. So what makes women’s eye health so special? Women are actually more commonly affected than men by a number of ocular health issues including dryness, cataracts, age related macular degeneration, and complications from autoimmune disorders such as Sjogren's or lupus. Furthermore, according to Prevent Blindness America, 66% of people who are blind or visually impaired are women.

Let’s start with that statistic - why are women more at risk for eye complications than men?
By Germaine Shock 05 May, 2017
May is healthy vision month - and as we draw nearer to the official first day of Summer, what better time to discuss one of the most commonly overlooked parts of eye health - UV protection. Most of you are probably fully aware of the negative effects UV rays can have on your skin, but did you know the sun can be just as damaging to your eyes?
By Germaine Shock 25 Apr, 2017

No, it’s not a typo. Sjogren’s - pronounced show-grins - is a type of autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation and damage to various parts of the body; most commonly the tear and saliva glands. This damage results in symptoms ranging from dryness and discomfort to difficulty swallowing and can even affect the lungs and kidneys.

So why exactly does this happen? Let’s start with a quick health lesson. The immune system is responsible for fighting disease and killing harmful viruses and bacteria. However, with autoimmune diseases, your immune system has a hard time knowing when to stop fighting and mistakenly attacks your own body. With Sjogren’s, your exocrine glands - the glands that secrete moisture such as saliva, sweat, tears, breast-milk, gastric mucous, etc - become the main targets.
By Germaine Shock 05 Apr, 2017

So it’s the weekend and the mild discomfort you were experiencing midweek has now escalated into full blown intense pain. Or maybe you were working on the yard and something flew into your eye? Or perhaps you were wearing your contact lenses for too long and your eye is now extremely red and unhappy. Who do you call? (I’ll give you a hint, it’s not Ghostbusters.) But seriously, should you go to the ER if you injure your eye in some way? The answer might surprise you.

By Germaine Shock 22 Mar, 2017
Protecting your eyes isn’t just about preventing disease or infection. Did you know almost 2,000 people injure their eyes daily while at work? Workplace eye wellness and safety is an often overlooked but important part of eye health preservation. In fact, the Prevent Blindness organization has declared the entire month of March Workplace Eye Wellness Month in an attempt to help provide awareness to both employers and employees alike.
By Germaine Shock 27 Feb, 2017
If you’ve been following along on the Eye-Q Blog for AMD Awareness Month, by now you should be pretty familiar with the disease and how it works. In our final macular degeneration themed post, we'll recap a few important tidbits, share some useful prevention methods, and give you some ideas for helping to spread the awareness not just in February - but all year long! If you haven’t yet read our other two posts on AMD, check them out here and here .
By Germaine Shock 20 Feb, 2017
This week on the Eye-Q blog we are continuing on with the theme of AMD Awareness. If you missed our last post that covered exactly what AMD is - be sure to check it out here . Now let’s jump right in with some common symptoms.
More Posts
Share by: