Eye Emergencies in Denver, CO
DO NOT Do The Following in an Eye Emergency:
- DO NOT press on an injured eye or allow the victim to rub the eye(s).
- DO NOT remove contact lenses unless rapid swelling is occurring or you cannot get prompt medical help.
- DO NOT attempt to remove a foreign body that is resting on the cornea (the clear surface of the eye through which we see) or that appears to be embedded in any part of the eye.
- DO NOT use dry cotton (including cotton swabs) or sharp instruments (such as tweezers) on the eye.
- DO NOT let a burn become contaminated. Avoid breathing or coughing on the burned area.
- DO lightly patch the eye closed until care can be provided.
Types of Eye Emergencies That May Require Emergency Eye Surgery
Cut Eyelid or Torn Eyelid
Bulging of a single eye, especially in a child, is a very serious sign and should be evaluated immediately.
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Something in Your Eyes That Cannot be Removed
Tell the person not to rub the eye. Wash your hands before examining. Examine the eye in a well-lit area. To find the object, have the person look up and down, then side to side. If you can’t find the object, grasp the lower eyelid and gently pull down on it to look under the lower eyelid. To look under the upper lid, you can place a cotton-tipped swab on the outside of the upper lid and gently flip the lid over the cotton swab.
If the object is on an eyelid, try to gently flush it out with water. If that does not work, try touching a second cotton-tipped swab to the object to remove it. If the object is on the eye, try gently rinsing the eye with water. It may help to use an eye dropper positioned above the outer corner of the eye. DO NOT touch the eye itself with the cotton swab. After following the above instructions, seek medical help immediately.
Chemical Eye Injury
Chemical eye injuries require that the eye be flushed with cool tap water immediately. Turn the person’s head so the injured eye is down and to the side. Holding the eyelid open, allow running water from the faucet to flush the eye for 15 minutes. If both eyes are affected, or if the chemicals are also on other parts of the body, have the victim take a shower.
An alternative is to fill the sink with water and have the victim open their eyes under the water, slowly shaking the head back and forth. If the person is wearing contact lenses and the lenses did not flush out, have the person try to remove the contacts AFTER the flushing procedure. Continue to flush the eye with clean water or saline while seeking urgent medical attention. After following the above instructions, seek medical help immediately.
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Bleeding in the Eye
Something Embedded in the Eye
Abnormal Pupil Shape or Size
You should see a doctor if you have persistent, unexplained, or sudden changes in pupil shape or size. The new development of different sized pupils may be a sign of a very serious condition. If you have differing pupil size after an eye or head injury, get medical help immediately.
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