5 Eye related emergency conditions that you need to know about

In this post, I am going to share with you 5 eye related #emergencies and what you can do to help as a #firstaid.

Emergency conditions of the eye can happen anytime, and can lead to loss of vision. With the basic knowledge that I am going to share with you, you could be prepared to deal with any eye related emergency and prevent vision loss.

1. Chemical injuries

In our day-to-day life, we are surrounded by several chemicals that can be harmful if they come in contact with your eyes.

The most common chemicals that cause eye injury are household detergents, bleach, insecticides. Chemical injury to the eye is a true emergency because time is of the essence. The longer the delay in seeking medical help, the higher the chances of permanent damage to the eye and vision loss.

What can you do?

“In the event of a chemical injury, the most important thing to do is to wash out the offending chemical from the eye using clean water.”

Every second counts! Therefore, if you or someone around you suffers from a chemical injury, without losing any time, wash out the chemical from the eye using cool clean water. In hospitals, we usually use sterile solutions like normal saline to wash out the chemical, but in an emergency situation, it is not advisable to waste time if a sterile solution is not available. Just use any clean water to wash the eye for at least 15-20 minutes and rush the patient to an eye hospital emergency room.

2. Physical Injuries

Physical injuries to the eye can result from road traffic accidents, accidental injury during sports, firecracker injuries during Diwali or as a result of assault.

What can you do?

“In the event of a physical injury to the eye, the most important thing is to avoid pressure on the injured eye.”

Needless to say, physical injury is an emergency and requires immediate medical attention. However, one thing that you can do to ensure that no further damage occurs to the injured person’s eye is to avoid any kind of pressure on the eye of the person. Avoid bandaging the injured eye. You can instead cover the injured eye by wearing protective sunglasses to prevent further injury while the person gets transported to a hospital.

3. Welding Arc Injury

Observing a welding arc without eye protection can be harmful to your eyes. Welding arcs radiate ultraviolet rays that cause injury to your cornea, leading to severe pain and blurring of vision.

“The injury to the eye resulting from viewing a welding arc, typically occurs a few hours after the exposure liked a ‘delayed emergency’.”

Never observe a welding arc with naked eyes. You may not feel any pain or discomfort immediately but after about 5-6 hours, you will experience severe pain and blurring of vision. The severity of the pain makes this an emergency and immediate consultation with an ophthalmologist is required. Over the counter analgesic tablets might help in reducing the pain temporarily but you need to see an ophthalmologist urgently and get proper treatment.

4. Painful red eye

Redness of eyes can be due to something as simple as conjunctivitis or there could be a more serious condition vision-threatening emergency condition.

Understanding the seriousness of the condition and immediate ophthalmologist consultation is the best course of action.

5. Sudden painless loss of vision

Certain conditions of the eye can result in loss of vision without causing any pain, like a ‘silent emergency’.

There are certain conditions of the retina and the optic nerve (The nerve responsible for vision) that will lead to sudden loss of vision that is absolutely painless. You need to be especially alert if there is a sudden complete loss of vision like a blackout or severe blurring of vision in one or both eyes, because it is an emergency that needs to be treated urgently.

What can you do?

The tricky part about painless loss of vision is that people often do not come to know if it occurs in only one eye as there is no pain, and often no redness, and the other eye is functioning perfectly fine. The delay in recognizing the emergency often leads to irreversible vision loss.

“It is a good idea to, every once in a while, close one eye at a time gently with your hand and check each eye to know whether the vision is good in both eyes.”

If you notice a sudden painless blurring or loss of vision in either eye, consider it an emergency and visit an eye doctor urgently.

If you have any queries regarding any of the eye emergency conditions described above, feel free to drop a comment below or email me.

Take good care of your eyes and stay safe!

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