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Ojas Eye Hospital in Bandra, Kandivali, Mumbai

Eye Emergencies

December 28, 2020

The Eye is a very delicate organ. Any event of the eye or change in the vision needs immediate medical attention. Although finding yourself in an emergency condition itself is scary, and if your visibility is affected, it makes it even more worrisome .First thing in an emergency is to remain calm  and one panics , you tend to injure yourself more. Our body is prepared to manage stressful conditions and by being aware and precautionary about certain situations you can handle and avoid eye emergencies more efficiently.

Symptoms of eye injury

These below mentioned symptoms need medical attention from your eye doctor :

  • Burning or stinging sensation
  • Eye pain
  • Decreased vision
  • Different size of pupil
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Redness and irritation
  • Headaches
  • Bleeding from the eye
  • Reduced eye movement
  • Swelling of eyelids and eyes
  • Skin Tear or cut in the eyelid region
  • Appearance of a veil or curtain , affecting vision

First aid tips

Eye injury is crucial as it may cause temporary or permanent vision loss. Moreover, it hampers your work and can keep you away from your job responsibilities.  By using safety gears, you not only save yourself from injury and pain caused, but also reduce the recovery time after the event. First and foremost thing is not to panic and respond quickly to get medical attention immediately. 

Common eye injury categories are:

Eye scratch or Corneal abrasion 

It is difficult to tell how bad an eye scratch or corneal abrasion can be. A minor one can heal by itself, First you can start with an eye rinse by sterile saline solution. Never rub your eyes after injury, as it complicates the situation. Wearing sunglasses and keeping the eye closed until you seek medical attention is advisable as sometimes eye become light sensitive.

Blow to the eye

First line of treatment in case of impacted eye is to gently apply cold compression. This reduces the pain and swelling of the eye.

Chemical burn

If you work in a place where chemical splash is common, best practice is to use safety gear all the time. Irrespective of that, if any chemical splashes to the eye, reach out for the fresh water tap and thoroughly wash out the chemical. Acid splash is rinsed out easily, while alkali splash is much more severe. In case of chemical burn, your eye doctor will go for the vision test first and then for the rest of the test to understand the extent of damage caused to the eye.

Stepwise care

  • Wash your hands with soap first to remove any traces of chemical as a splash residue.
  • Turn your head towards the injured side.
  • With the help of shower or fresh tap water rinse the eye for about 15 minutes.

Foreign body in the eye

Most of people have experienced this feeling of “something in the eye”. Eye becomes tender and watery until the foreign material is flushed out. It is the eye’s defence mechanism to produce tears for washing out the cause.

  • Never rub your eye instead try blinking if it gets clear.
  • You may need someone’s help to look in the eye to find out the irritant.
  • Artificial tears can be used to rinse out the foreign particle.

Sometimes, sharp or small particles of glass or wood get stuck in the eye, do not try to take out by yourself, seek medical attention in that case. Do not use tweezers or any picking tools to take out protruded object from the eye as it can worsen the treatment outcome.

Gradual or Sudden vision loss

Gradual vision loss is mostly due to advancement of pre-existing disease like cataract. Whereas  any case of sudden vision loss needs immediate medical attention.

Reasons for Acute vision loss are

  • Optic neuropathy
  • Migraine headaches
  • Central retinal vein and artery occlusion
  • Retinal detachment

Black eye

Black eye usually results from the injury to the eye or eye socket. Simple immediate cold compression is helpful in reducing swelling and bruise healing. In case of symptoms like double vision, blurred vision, eye ball protrusion, headache after a black eye, you need medical attention as early as possible. When visiting an eye doctor, it is recommended to go for dilated eye examination to find out the internal damage to the eye.


Often cuts on the eyelid margins or the eyeball itself are noticed. These situations need immediate medical attention.

Pink eye

The term Pink eye is used commonly for conjunctivitis and not considered as an eye . emergency. However you need to consult an eye doctor and get proper medical treatment. Viral conjunctivitis is common in winter season. Bacterial conjunctivitis and allergic conjunctivitis also manifests the same way as viral conjunctivitis.

Precautions to be taken are :

Avoid any sort of contact with others as it is highly contagious. People should use hand sanitizer or wash hands with soap every time they come in contact with infected patient. Antibiotic ointment and drops are usually prescribed to stop and prevent further bacterial contamination. Prescribed medication and eye drops are to be regularly used for curbing the infection.  

Sunlight injury

Yes, you are reading right that even sunlight, considered as boon to the earth, can sometime lead to eye injury. It is always better to use sunglasses while going outdoors. Sunlight injury may cause symptoms like halo formations, light sensitivity, blurry vision, flashes.

Subconjunctival Haemorrhage

As a result of trauma, sometimes blood gets leaked between sclera and conjunctiva. It is an asymptomatic condition apart from mild irritation. Blood tests can be performed just to rule out any clotting disorders. No treatment is required and clot resolves on its own within several days to weeks.

Acute glaucoma

Glaucoma can be acute or chronic, Acute variant is an eye emergency. It is seen as sudden increase of fluid pressure within the eye and associated with pain, redness and vision changes.


It is commonly seen that headaches are associated with vision defects. Eye strain from wrong posture or long working hours on computer may cause tension like headaches. Serious conditions like tumours of the eye may also present themselves as episodes of headaches, so it is recommended to go for an eye examination and rule out the possibility.  

Orbital swelling

Orbit walls are very thin and are in close proximity to the brain. It is taken as a serious condition because Dental infection, sinusitis or orbital infection may extend to the brain and create a new set of complications. Orbital cellulitis leads to proptosis, pain on eye movement and visual impairment. It is a serious condition and needs to be evaluated the same day. 

Preventing eye injuries

  • Don’t allow children to play with sharp objects and projectile toys.
  • Keep scissors, blades, knifes out of accident prone areas in the house.
  • Be cautious while cooking in the kitchen with grease and oil.
  • Keep heated grooming instruments like hair dryer, hair straightening tools away from the eye.
  • Always follow the instruction manual while using house cleaning chemicals.

Treatment of Eye Emergencies

Eye Emergencies are of various types, so treatment also depends on the severity of the case. Various options like Ice packs, medications, eye drops, aspirins, and advanced cases are treated with surgical modalities.

To schedule an appointment with one of our experts or to know more about our various corrective and treatment modalities, feel free to contact us at +91 22 61549999 or visit our clinic at Bandra and Kandivali.


Ojas Eye Hospital A Center of Excellence for Contoura Vision, Femto Bladefree Lasik in Mumbai, India.