When to Seek Urgent Care for Acute Eye Conditions

Some eye conditions come about so slowly that patients can wait a week or two to visit their eye doctors. Acute eye conditions, on the other hand, need attention the same day.

Acute eye conditions are those that come on suddenly. They can include eye injuries, such as scratches to the surface of the eye, a foreign body in the eye, or a chemical injury. Other acute eye conditions may include infections and extreme symptoms of eye allergies.

The most common same day visits conditions include:

Eye infection – bacteria, fungi, and viruses can infect different parts of the eye; infections can affect one or both eyes

Eye injury – includes chemical burns, cuts, lacerations and punctures occurring at work, during sports, or at home

Corneal scratches – scratches to the cornea, which is the transparent layer of tissue covering the front of the eye

Corneal ulcer – painful sores on the cornea resulting from infections, trauma, chemical injury or contact lenses

Irritation from a foreign object – sand, grit, or other foreign objects can irritate or damage the sensitive tissues of the eye

Foreign object stuck in eye – metal particles, glass shards, contact lenses and other foreign objects can embed into the eye to cause damage

Extreme eye allergy symptoms – allergies can cause significant eye discomfort that prevents someone from going about their daily lives

When to Seek Urgent Care for Acute Eye Conditions

Many eye problems can wait for a scheduled appointment. Acute eye conditions require immediate care, often to save vision. However, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the eye problems that can wait and the ones that require urgent medical attention. Here is a list of eye symptoms that require immediate care from a qualified eye care professional:

  • Foreign body lodged in the eye
  • Sudden vision loss
  • Burns on the eye or eyelids
  • Seeing flashes of light or dark shadows that move across the individual’s vision
  • New floaters that appear in the person’s field of view
  • Persistent pain, stinging, or burning
  • New sensitivity to light

What to do in Case of an Acute Eye Emergency

If you or someone you know experience signs or symptoms of an acute eye injury, seek medical attention from an eye care professional right away. Do not try to remove foreign bodies from the eye yourself, as this could cause further damage. Contact EyeCareToday for a same day visit with the eye care professionals at Illinois Eye Center.

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