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Eye Injury Prevention Month: Which Eye Injuries Require Emergency Care

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Eye Injury Prevention Month: Which Eye Injuries Require Emergency Care

July is Eye Injury Prevention Month. Learn what constitutes an eye emergency so you can know how to handle it and prevent vision impairment. While some injuries have a clear cause, such as being hit in the eye, others are not as obvious. Retinas can detach without a clear cause or pressure within the eye can lead to vision impairment. Other eye injuries such as a black eye may not be severe enough to warrant a trip to the emergency eye doctor. If you do think you are suffering an eye emergency, do not attempt to treat the injury yourself, as this can make the damage worse. You may be suffering an eye emergency if you are demonstrating any of the symptoms listed below or have suffered any recent eye trauma.

Eye Emergencies That Require Emergency Care

Symptoms Of An Eye Emergency
Sometimes we don’t realize how serious an eye injury is when it happens or we don’t realize the incident that might have caused the injury was enough to damage the eye. Seek emergency eye services if you experience any of these symptoms or issues:

  • Persistent pain in the eye
  • Difficulty seeing/loss of vision
  • Cut or torn eyelid
  • Asynchronous eye movement (eyes moving independently of each other)
  • One eye sticking out more than the other
  • Uneven pupil size or shape
  • Blood in the eye
  • An object or debris in the eye that will not come out with blinking or tears
  • Double vision
  • Swelling of the eye, eyelid, or surrounding area
  • Eye pain accompanied by a headache

Common Types Of Eye Injuries

  1. Chemicals In The Eye. If you get chemicals or chemical fumes in your eye at your workplace, you will likely have to use an eyewash station. Use this immediately and wash your eyes for the full 15 minutes. Washing your eye for less time can lead to further corrosion or damage to the eye. If you get chemicals or chemical fumes in your eye elsewhere, or if your place of employment doesn’t have an eyewash station, flush your eye in a sink using clean, cool water instead. Once you’ve washed your eye, go immediately to the emergency room. The type of chemical you are working with as well as if you wash your eye appropriately will determine the severity of your injury. Chemicals in the eye(s) are very serious and should always be treated as an eye emergency.
  2. Penetration. If any object has penetrated the eye, it is considered an eye emergency and requires immediate emergency eye services. Do not remove the object from the eye and do not attempt to remove any contact lenses either. Do not apply pressure to, rub, or otherwise irritate the penetrative object. Do not attempt to wash the eye.
  3. Blunt Trauma. Some forms of blunt trauma may be mild and result in a black eye that does not require emergency services. However, if the trauma is more serious and has ruptured the eye, broken the bones of the eye socket, has caused retina detachment (some symptoms of which are the sudden appearance of floaters, a grey curtain-like shadow over vision, or flashes of light in one or both eyes), or caused any eye symptoms previously listed, seek emergency eye services. You can apply a cold compress to the eye to help reduce pain and swelling but do not put pressure on the injury.
  4. Abrasions. If you get something small in your eye and it comes out with blinking or tears, it is not considered an eye emergency. This includes dust, dirt, sand, or other small particles. If you’re struggling to get the object out of your eye or if you have a manmade object particle (such as metal or glass particles) you can rinse your eye with saline solution, tap water, or eyewash. If you can’t get the particle out of your eye or feel there is still an irritant, this can be considered an eye emergency. Manmade particles such as metal and glass can become embedded in the eye and may require emergency eye services.

Eye Emergency Care In Calgary

If you have suffered an eye injury or are suffering from any of the symptoms listed above, it is considered a medical emergency and you need to visit an emergency eye doctor or ER right away. Because the eyes are so delicate, the best chance you have of maintaining your eyesight after suffering an eye emergency is prompt treatment; waiting to go for assistance can result in permanent vision damage. Instead of assessing the situation yourself, which could lead to further injury, come to Market Mall Optometry where our Calgary optometrists and office staff will do everything we can to accommodate you at a moment's notice.

For emergency eye care, visit Market Mall Optometry in NW Calgary. If you are experiencing an ocular emergency of any kind, contact us immediately at 1-403-286-4884. For non-emergency inquiries, you can contact Market Mall Optometry by filling out the online contact form.


Q: How much will emergency eye services cost if I don’t have insurance?
A: Alberta Health Care covers all emergency eye care costs for people of any age.

Q: If I have an eye emergency, does Market Mall Optometry take walk-ins?
A: Yes, for eye emergencies Market Mall Optometry accepts walk-ins. If you have suffered an eye injury, come to our NW Calgary clinic right away. We accept walk-ins during our office hours of:
Monday:           10am - 7pm
Tuesday:           10am - 7pm
Wednesday:     10am - 7pm
Thursday:         10am - 7pm
Friday:               10am - 7pm
Saturday:          9:30am - 6pm
Sunday:             10am-4pm

Q: Can an eye doctor help with my eye emergency or should I go to the emergency room of a hospital?
A: An eye doctor can absolutely help manage your eye emergency. Eye doctors are trained to treat eye emergencies and can provide proactive diagnoses and treatment that will prevent vision loss, reduce the risk of spreading contagious infections, decrease pain and discomfort, and allow for quicker healing. The emergency room can also handle eye emergencies. It is better to go to whichever you can get to easily and quickly.

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