Eye Emergencies in Denver, CO
An eye emergency is any eye injury or eye trauma that puts your eyesight at risk. Most eye emergencies require immediate attention.
At The Denver Ophthalmology Center, we take urgent eye problems seriously and want to make sure you have the information you need in these situations. If you believe you are experiencing an eye emergency, contact your doctor immediately and follow the advice below. If your doctor is unavailable, go to the nearest emergency room.
If You Are Experiencing An Eye Emergency, Follow These Instructions
- DO NOT touch the affected eye.
- DO NOT attempt to remove anything from the eye, including contacts.
- DO NOT use anything to treat the eye, from cotton swabs to tweezers.
- DO NOT let a burn or wound become contaminated. Avoid breathing or coughing near the affected eye.
- DO lightly patch the eye closed — without touching it — until the eye can be treated.
How to Respond to Different Types of Eye Emergencies
If you have experienced, or are experiencing, any of the below events, follow the relevant advice and seek professional help.
Experience the difference.
Contact an eye care specialist or visit an emergency room immediately. Many forms of vision loss are rapid and painless, meaning that pain isn’t a good indicator of how serious or permanent vision loss may be. Many forms of vision loss also require treatment within 60 minutes of the first symptoms appearing.
Cut, Torn, Or Damaged Eyelid
Very carefully wash the eye. Apply antibiotic ointment to the eyelid. Place a patch over the affected eye. If the injury is bleeding, apply gentle pressure with a clean, dry cloth until it stops. Then, cover the area with a clean dressing, and place a cold compress on it to reduce pain and swelling. Once you have done the above, seek medical attention at once.
Seek medical help immediately. In the meantime, keep the affected eye closed and apply cold compresses very gently to reduce swelling and to stop bleeding. Under NO circumstances should you apply pressure to stop bleeding.
One eye bulging is always a serious sign, especially in children. Visit an eye health specialist or go to the nearest emergency room right away to have it evaluated.
Something Is Stuck in The Eye
DO NOT rub the eye. Have someone besides the affected person wash their hands and examine the eye in a well-lit area. The affected person should look up, down, left, and right to reveal every part of their eye. If the object is on the eye, gently rinse the eye with water. Consider using an eye dropper, positioned above the eye’s outer corner. Afterwards, contact your doctor or visit the emergency room.
Something Is Embedded in The Eye
DO NOT attempt to remove the object. DO NOT touch or apply pressure to it. After calming the affected person, wash your hands and follow these instructions. If the object is large, place a paper cup or cone over the injured eye and tape it in place; if it’s small, cover the eye with a clean cloth or other sterile dressing.
Cover the uninjured eye with gauze or a clean cloth: covering both eyes helps to prevent eye movement. Then, get medical help immediately.
Chemical Eye Injury
Flush the eye with cool tap water immediately. Position the head so that the affected eye is down and to the side. Hold the eyelid open and allow gently running water over the eye for 10 minutes. In the case where both eyes or other body parts are affected, the affected person should take a shower. Alternatively, fill the sink with water and have the affected person open their eyes under water, slowly shaking their head from left to right.
If the affected person is wearing contacts and they were not flushed out by water, have them attempt to remove their contacts only AFTER flushing has been attempted. Continue flushing procedures with clean water or a saline solution while seeking urgent medical care.
Bleeding in The Eye
Call your doctor if you have an eye hemorrhage in both eyes at the same time, or if it coincides with other bleeding symptoms, such as easy bruising or bleeding gums. Visit your eye care professional or an emergency room immediately if the above happens in conjunction with pain, a history with bleeding disorders or high blood pressure, injury to the affected eyes, or vision changes such as blurry vision, double vision, or general difficulty seeing.
Abnormal Pupil Shape or Size
See your doctor if you have persistent, unexplained, or sudden changes in your pupil’s shape or size. These can be signs of a very serious condition. If your pupils appear different following an eye or head injury, get medical help immediately.
To contact us with emergency concerns or more information, call The Denver Ophthalmology Center at (303) 991-9662.