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Eye Emergencies (Pink/Red Eyes)

Person with Something in Her Eye

Providing Emergency Eye Care Services in South Bend

Eye emergencies happen when you least expect them, so knowing what to do if you or a loved one needs urgent eye care is vital.

First things first. Don’t panic! Staying calm will not only help you think straight, it will also help those around you to remain calm.

Second, never try to judge the severity of an eye injury on your own. Instead, contact your eye doctor for instructions on what you should do in your situation. At Eye Care Associates of Michiana in South Bend, we understand ocular emergencies and are here for you at any time.

For a medical eye emergency, such as severe eye trauma, significant or sudden vision change, eye puncture, or chemical burn, immediately call an ambulance or seek treatment at an emergency room.

For urgent eye care, such as an eye infection, corneal abrasion (eyeball scratch), conjunctivitis (pink eye), unusual burning or itching, please call one of our offices. Someone is available to answer your call 24 hours a day.

South Bend office: (574) 287-0890

New Carlisle office: (574) 654-8806

It’s not always necessary to go to an emergency room for eye emergencies. Studies have shown that the overwhelming majority of people who sought urgent eye care at an emergency room could have been treated by an optometrist.

That being said, use your own judgment. If you think you need to head to the nearest emergency room, don’t delay.

What is an Eye Emergency?

An eye emergency is anything that puts your eyes or vision at risk of permanent damage.

The most common types of eye emergencies include:

  • Eye infection
  • Foreign object stuck in the eye
  • Eye trauma
  • Scratch on the eye
  • Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Lost contact lens in the eye
  • Shattered eyeglass lenses
  • Sudden appearance of light flashes or floaters

Eye Infection

If you think you may be experiencing an eye infection, promptly seek professional care by calling our office. Someone will answer your call 24 hours a day.

South Bend office: (574) 287-0890New Carlisle office: (574) 654-8806

Symptoms of eye infection commonly include itching, redness, swelling, increased tearing, discharge from the eye, and crust formation around the eye. Symptoms often come on quickly and usually last for one to two weeks with viral infections.

Symptoms of bacterial infections will usually clear sooner with antibiotic treatment. Eye infections can often occur in just one eye, but can quickly spread to the other eye.

Common eye infections include conjunctivitis, often called pink eye, which affects the membrane that lines the inside of your eyelids and covers the whites of the eyes, and blepharitis, which affects the eyelid margin. Although infections of the cornea, the clear “window” over the center of your eye, are not common, they can seriously affect your vision. The use of contact lenses contributes to eye infections if worn for extended periods or without proper cleaning.

Treatment one of our eye doctors will recommend will depend on the type and severity of your eye infection. Viral eye infections generally resolve on their own. Bacterial eye infections often require antibiotics. In many cases, we will also suggest self-care measures and home treatments to make an eye infection less uncomfortable.

Symptoms That Require Emergency Eye Care

  • Sudden loss of vision
  • Sudden double vision
  • Sudden eye pain
  • New onset of light flashes and/or floaters
  • Foreign body in the eye
  • Chemicals in the eye
  • Swelling or pain after eye surgery

What to Do if Something Gets Into Your Eye?

A foreign body can be anything from an eyelash or a speck of sand to a metal shard, blade of grass or piece of wood. No matter what the object is, it’s critical to have it removed quickly to reduce your risk of serious injury or infection.

Keep in mind that the eyes are extremely delicate and if you don’t know how to safely remove the foreign body, you can end up with sight-threatening complications. It’s therefore always best to seek urgent eye care if you can’t flush out the foreign body with water or saline solution.

If you think a foreign body has penetrated your eye, or you notice any blood or discharge coming from your eye, contact your eye doctor immediately. After describing what happened, your eye doctor may send you to an emergency room.

What To Do If You Have an Eye Emergency?

Contact Eye Care Associates of Michiana in South Bend for an emergency eye care appointment. If you’re unsure whether your symptoms constitute an emergency, call us anyway — delaying treatment can put you at risk of serious complications that can result in vision loss.

Until you see your eye doctor or seek urgent care:

  • Don’t press on or rub an injured eye
  • Don’t attempt to remove a foreign body on your own
  • Don’t use dry cotton (including cotton swabs) or sharp instruments (such as tweezers) on the eye
  • Don’t attempt to remove an embedded object

Call our office in South Bend for further instructions. We’re here for you!