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Ocular Emergencies: When Tomorrow Is Too Long To Wait

Most of the time when we hurt ourselves, it is pretty minor. Many times, even if it requires some medical attention, it is possible to wait until tomorrow to go to the doctor. It can sometimes be a hassle and unnecessary money out of pocket to go to the doctor for small injuries that we feel we can handle ourselves. Sometimes, however, this is an incorrect and very dangerous decision to make, and serious and far-reaching consequences may result from our not knowing the difference between an injury that requires immediate attention and one that doesn't. When it comes to your eyes, this is an especially important distinction. Below, Dr. Johan Tran of Healthy Eye Center in Huntington Beach, California has shared some information about common types of eye injuries and what to do if you sustain any injury like them:

Fertilizers, Paints and Other Harmful Chemicals

Many common household items can do a great deal of harm to your eyes if mishandled. Among these are fertilizers, paints, laundry detergent, bleach, and aerosol air fresheners. These and other common items contain harsh chemicals that can give you serious, sometimes permanent, chemical burns from just a single drop. If these chemicals somehow find their way into your eye, immediate medical help is an absolute essential to be sure that the situation is handled appropriately. Until help arrives, take the following steps:

  • Contact lenses should be taken out immediately.
  • You should turn your head so that the injured eye is down and to the side.
  • Hold your eyelid open and flush with cool tap water for approximately 15 minutes.

Scratches and Cuts

Eye injuries that result in small cuts or scratches directly on the eye or near it are very often brushed off, and the danger they pose to your vision is often unknown or ignored. It is important to know that this type of eye injury can be just as serious as others outlined above and below. The eye is filled with and surrounded by important fluids that help maintain proper eye shape and function. If these fluids are lost, or otherwise compromised, the eye may be permanently damaged or destroyed. The same can be said about the delicate tissues on the inside of the eye, which, if damaged may also lead to serious damage or even blindness. If you receive a cut or scratch of this nature, you should:

  • Gently apply cold compresses to reduce swelling and bleeding.
  • DO NOT apply pressure to control the bleeding. Applying pressure may damage your eyes further.
  • Contact your eye doctor immediately.

Large and/or Sharp Foreign Objects

An unfortunately common injury among manual laborers and others is a sharp piece of metal or glass becoming embedded in the eye because of a lack of proper eye protection during work. An injury like this poses serious risk to the whole structure of the eyeball itself and can quite easily end in total, irrecoverable blindness. Until help can be obtained:

  • Both eyes should be covered by a clean cloth. This should serve to reduce eye movements, which could do further damage to the eye.
  • DO NOT attempt to remove these objects on your own. If you do, you run the risk of irreparably damaging sensitive parts of your eye.
  • A doctor should be sought immediately

For more information, contact Dr. Tran today.