Eye Emergencies

Eye Emergencies

Eye Emergencies

Eye Emergencies

Eye Emergencies

Eye emergencies cover a range of incidents and conditions such as trauma, cuts, scratches, foreign objects in the eye, burns, chemical exposure, photic retinopathy, and blunt injuries to the eye or eyelid. Since the eye is easily damaged, serious complications can occur from an eye injury thus, any of these conditions without proper treatment can lead to a partial loss of vision or even permanent blindness. Likewise, eye infections and other eye problems such as a pain, redness, the sudden onset of flashes of light or floaters and vision loss also need urgent medical attention.

Depending on the type of injury, any of the following symptoms may be present:

  • Bleeding or other discharge from or around the eye

  • Bruising

  • Decreased vision

  • Double vision

  • Loss of vision, total or partial, in one eye or both

  • Pupils of unequal size

  • Eye pain

  • New or severe headaches

  • Itchy eyes

  • Redness or bloodshot appearance

  • A sensation of something in the eye

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Stinging or burning in the eye

  • One eye is not moving like the other

  • One eye is sticking out or bulging

  • Nausea or headache occurring with eye pain (this may be a symptom of glaucoma or stroke).


1) METAL Foreign Body in the eye:  If you suspect that you have a metallic foreign body in the eye from grinding metal or working with metal, CALL DR. KUBOTA'S OFFICE IMMEDIATELY OR GO TO THE NEAREST EMERGENCY ROOM IMMEDIATELY!  Metallic foreign objects that lodge in the cornea typically rust and cause more inflammation and scarring the longer they stay in the eye, so they must be removed ASAP!!!  Grinding without safety glasses poses a much higher risk because the small pieces of metal act like tiny bullets that can penetrate and tear all the way through to the back of the eye causing severe damage and possibly blindness!

2) Chemical Injury:  Chemicals can be splashed into the eyes by a work-related accident or at home with common household products such as cleaning solutions, garden chemicals, solvents, or other types of chemicals. Fumes and aerosols can also cause chemical burns. With acid burns, the haze on the cornea often clears and there is a good chance of recovery. However, alkaline substances such as lime, lye, drain cleaners, and sodium hydroxide found in refrigeration equipment may cause permanent damage to the cornea VERY QUICKLY. If any chemicals splash in your eye, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to FLUSH OUT the eye IMMEDIATELY with large amounts of clean water directly from a hose or faucet or saline (salt water) for AT LEAST 20-30 MINUTES!!  If your contact lenses have not washed out after 20 minutes of flushing and you can safely remove your contact lenses, then do so and continue to flush with water for 10 more minutes. Then call our office or go to the nearest emergency room ASAP!!

3) Black Eye:  A black eye is usually caused by direct trauma to the eye or face, causing a bruise resulting from bleeding under the skin. The skin around the eye turns black and blue, gradually becoming purple, green, and yellow over several days. Swelling of the eyelid and tissues around the eye may also occur. The abnormal color usually disappears within 2 weeks.  However, a blow to the eye can damage the inside of the eye and the bones around the eye (orbit). Trauma is also a common cause of hyphemia, which is blood inside the front of the eye and is often due to a direct hit to the eye from a ball. A blow to the eye can also fracture the bones of the orbit trapping extra ocular muscles and creating abnormal eye movement.  Certain types of skull fractures can cause bruising around the eyes, even without direct injury to the eye.

4) Solar Retinopathy: Photic retinopathy, also known as foveomacular retinitis or solar retinopathy, is damage to the eye's retina, particularly the macula, from prolonged exposure to solar radiation or other bright light, e.g., lasers or arc welders (flash burn). It usually occurs due to staring at the sun, watching a solar eclipse, or viewing an ultraviolet, Illuminant D65, or other bright light. Immediate evaluation by Dr. Kubota is advised.

In case of an eye injury, cut or trauma, gently apply a clean cold compress to the eye to reduce swelling and help stop the bleeding. Do not, however, apply pressure to control bleeding. If blood is pooling in the eye, cover both eyes with a clean cloth or sterile dressing.  Call Dr. Kubota's office or go to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible.

In case of eye injury DO NOT:

  • rub or apply pressure to your eye

  • try to remove foreign objects that are stuck in any part of your eye

  • use tweezers or any other tools in your eye (cotton swabs can be used, but only on the eyelid)

  • put medications or ointments in the eye

As for contact lenses wearers, attempting to remove your contacts can make the injury worse. The only exception to this rule is when there is a chemical injury and the lenses didn’t flush out with water, or where immediate medical help cannot be received immediately.

How To Prevent Eye Injuries: WEAR SAFELY GLASSES!!

Eye injuries can happen anywhere. Accidents can happen during high-risk activities, but also in places where you least expect them. There are things that can be done to decrease the risk of eye injuries, including wearing protective eyewear when using power tools or engaging in high-risk sporting events, following the directions carefully when working with chemicals or cleaning supplies, keeping scissors, knives, and other sharp instruments away from young children, and keeping a distance from amateur fireworks.

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