There are a wide range of acute conditions that qualify as ocular emergencies and in most cases the best place to get prompt, effective care is your private optometrist. At For Your Eyes Only Optometric Center, we have daily appointments available for emergency eye care and have the diagnostic equipment and medications needed to evaluate most conditions. There is no reason to sit all afternoon in the ER. In the rare case that an immediate referral is required, phone calls will be make on your behalf to assure the appropriate doctor is ready to see you. Here is a guide to a few of the most common conditions seen at our medical office:
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye): This common condition can actually be caused by a variety of factors. While bacterial conjunctivitis requires topical antibiotic eye drops, most pink eyes are actually viral or allergic in nature. Proper diagnosis is important to obtain the proper treatment.
Ocular Trauma: A bad fall, car accident, racquet ball, or even a champagne cork can cause ocular trauma. In any of these situations, the damage done can extend well beyond the initial pain of the incident. Often corneal swelling will cause decreased vision and will require medical treatment. Light sensitivity is also common and can be lessened with use of eye drops. After any ocular trauma, it is also important to dilate the eyes to rule out retinal bleeding. Broken blood vessels inside the eye have the potential to permanently decrease vision.
Foreign Body: This is a catch all term for anything ranging to a ripped contact lens, to an eyelash to a shard of metal that can all get lodged in the cornea or conjunctival tissue. These cause extreme discomfort especially when imbedded in the cornea and require immediate removal and follow up care. A variety of techniques are used for foreign body removals depending nature of the offending particle.
Floaters and Flashes of Light: While a few floaters are not abnormal, a large influx could be a sign of a retinal problem, especially if they are combined with flashes of light. These are all the signs of a retinal tear or detachment, and require an immediate dilated eye exam. Your optometrist will evaluate the retina to make sure that the retina remains flat and intact. Most of the time new floaters are caused by the liquification of vitreous humor, the gelatinous materiel the fills the posterior part of the eye. As the vitreous changes, proteins condense and form shadows on the retina which appear to us as floaters. It is important for your optometrist to differentiate between these vitreous changes and a potential serious retinal issue. Retinal detachments require treatment within 24 hours to avoid permanent vision loss.