A sudden injury not only causes pain, but can have some pretty serious complications to your health. Certain areas of the human body are more susceptible to injury than others and can cause long-term damage.
They say that the eyes are the window to the soul, but they are also one of the most sensitive and important areas of the body. Any injury to the eye can negatively impact your vision and should be checked as soon as possible.
Common Eye Injuries
Many eye injuries happen at school, in the office, at home, or while traveling. Sports activities are one of the most common sources of eye injuries. On-site job visits, such as in the construction industry, are another source of frequent eye emergencies.
Dr. Sara Schmitz, O.D. treats many types of eye emergencies, such as:
- Chemical exposure
- "Floaters" in the vision
- Dislodged contact lenses
- Eye infections
- Eye trauma
- Flashes of light in the vision
- Foreign materials stuck in the eyes
- Lost or broken contact lenses or eyeglasses
- Red or painful eyes
- Scratched eyes
- Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
- Uncomfortable, itchy, or irritated eyes
Scleral lenses can provide effective relief, as well. These are custom-designed rigid contact lenses with a large diameter that cover the entire sclera (the white part of the eye) without touching the cornea. Scleral lenses contain a tiny pool of water, providing constant moisture to dry eyes.
Common Causes of Eye Injury
Chemical Exposure and Your Eyes
Many people assume that exposure to chemicals affects only the skin and lungs. However, even mild exposure to chemicals in household cleaning products can damage your vision.
Chemicals like sodium hydroxide can be found in oven and drain cleaners. Air fresheners and leather cleaners may contain formaldehyde, which in high amounts, has been linked to certain types of cancer. Exposure to these substances can cause itching, burning, redness, or soreness in the eyes.
The #1 way to lower your risk is to wash your hands thoroughly after handling cleaning products. Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes until your hands are washed and clear of any lingering chemical substances. If the pain persists, contact your eye doctor.
Foreign Materials Stuck in the Eyes
Getting something stuck in your eye can be excruciating. Even a tiny eyelash that falls into the eye can be very painful and immediately cause your eyes to water, itch, burn, or sting.
If a foreign particle gets into your eye, rinse your eye with cold water for 15 minutes. If that doesn't wash it away, seek medical care immediately.
A sharp piece of debris like a tiny shard of glass or pebble can scratch the cornea, known as a corneal abrasion.
A deep abrasion can lead to eye infection or a corneal ulcer, so if you experience a foreign substance in your eye without successfully flushing it out on your own, contact your eye doctor as soon as possible.
A concussion is an injury to the brain caused by a physical trauma, known as a Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI. This is typically caused by a sudden blow or bump to the head, which makes the brain move around inside the head. A concussion can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, or sudden light sensitivity.
Concussions can lead to vision problems, including blurry or double vision, eyestrain, problems with eye coordination, and reading difficulties.
If you or a loved one has experienced a concussion, contact our office immediately. Dr. Sara Schmitz, O.D. will perform a comprehensive eye exam to check your visual acuity and overall eye health to ensure that the injury hasn't negatively impacted your everyday activities.
A highly common eye emergency, eye infections can be serious and contagious, depending on the type of infection you have. One of the most prevalent eye infections is conjunctivitis, also known as "pink eye." This occurs when the conjunctiva, which is a thin membrane that lines the eyelids and sclera (white part of the eye), become inflamed or swollen. The sclera usually turns dark pink or red, and the eyes become watery and include a mucus discharge.
Pink eye is contagious and spreads quickly, especially around children in daycare and schools. Fortunately, we can treat eye infections with antibiotic eye drops or ointment. These usually eradicate the infection quickly. In more severe cases, Dr. Sara Schmitz, O.D. may recommend an alternative course of action.
Itchy or Irritated Eyes
Perhaps one of the most frequently reported symptoms, itchiness or irritation in the eyes can be a sign of various eye diseases or conditions.
Itchy eyes are often a symptom of Dry Eye Disease, a condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tears to keep the eyes lubricated.Itchy eyes can signify a corneal scratch, also known as a corneal abrasion.
This happens when something scratches the cornea of your eye, like a fingertip or a tiny grain of sand. Even rubbing your eyes excessively can cause a corneal abrasion.
Dislodged Contact Lenses
For contact lens wearers, getting lenses stuck in the eye can be a painful experience. This happens when the lens folds itself or moves underneath the eyelid.
Simply massage your eye and the lens will usually move or fall out on its own. If it feels dry, administer some re-wetting drops or artificial tears to moisturize the area.A dislodged lens may also be a sign of poor fit. In these cases, we can simply examine your eye and outfit you for better fitting contact lenses.
Should you be unsuccessful at dislodging a stuck contact lens by yourself, that's where we come in. Visit Overland Optical Family Eye Care and we'll remove it and get you back to comfortable lens wear.