It is no secret that going to a hospital for an emergency will likely mean you will have to wait; perhaps for a few hours or longer. This isn’t the most ideal situation when you are feeling your worst! But, if you have a foreign object in your eye, visiting your eye doctor should be your first stop.
Oh my eye, I got something in my eye!
“Eric came into our office Friday, just before closing. He had a foreign object lodged in his eye and was in great discomfort. I was able to dislodge the object, which happened to be a small piece of metal shard. Had he gone to the ER, he would have likely had to wait for far longer, and perhaps not be diagnosed as quick. The ER just doesn’t have the specialized equipment an optometry clinic would have, like a slit lamp. Prolonging any sort of treatment is also always worrisome as the eye is an extremely delicate organ, and time is of the essence.”
At Inner Harbour Optometry, Dr. Sharma sees eye emergencies regularly. Although patients are scheduled in advance, there are always spots available for emergency care. If you think you have an eye emergency always inform the front staff so you will be seen on a priority basis.
I Think I Have a Foreign Object in My Eye, Now What?
From time to time we have all experienced something in our eye(s) that usually causes some level of discomfort. A little dust or an eyelash is easily removable at home. If you think one of these are in your eye, ensure to completely flush your eye with copious amounts of water so the item can be removed.
If you are experiencing sever pain or unable to dislodge the foreign body, seek immediate professional care. Do not attempt to remove the object or rub the eye, as this could potentially cause permanent eye damage. At the doctor’s office, your optometrist will thoroughly assess your eye to see what the object is and where it is located by applying a dye. Additionally, a slit lamp, which allows for close inspection of the cornea (the frontal surface of the eye), will also be used to help aid in determining the foreign body. A topical numbing drop may be applied to assist in the removal process and reduce any discomfort. Depending on how far the object has penetrated into the eye and whether or not any corneal abrasions have occurred, antibiotics may be prescribed. If you need to be seen by an ophthalmologist a referral will be made.
Remember to always wear protective eye wear when needed. Prevention is the best defense when it comes to your eyes because you only have the one pair. More information about first aid care for eye injuries can be read here.
When Should I Visit the ER?
If you think you are having an eye emergency and are unable to see your local Victoria eye doctor, perhaps because it is after hours, then you should go to your nearest hospital for treatment. In this instance waiting till your eye doctor is available is not recommended. In emergency cases, eye treatments have the best chance of being successful when treated sooner than later.
Knowing where to go for an eye emergency can save your sight! Dr. Sharma always recommends his patient air on the side of caution and come into the office if they think something isn’t right with their eyes. Better to be safe than sorry!