Should I Go to the Emergency Room if My Eye Hurts?

February 28, 2018

It can be hard to really know if an injury or a problem has really escalated to the point of needing to go to the ER. Maybe your eye has been bothering you over the weekend, and the dull pain has suddenly leaped to an alarming level. Perhaps something flew into your eye today, and you don’t know if it warrants a visit to the ER. Well, these are very important things to know. So let’s get down to it as fast as we can: Do you need to go to the ER?

Do these symptoms sound familiar?

Here is a short list of symptoms that you might be suffering from that would warrant a call to the optometrist:

  • General eye pain
  • Redness
  • Irritation from contacts
  • Eye discharge
  • Eye injuries
  • Something stuck in the eye
  • Exposure to chemicals or irritants
  • Welder’s burn
  • Swelling and puffiness

Should I go to the ER over it?

Generally speaking, most eye-related problems and injuries only warrant a call to your optometrist and not the emergency room for several reasons. First of all, many eye-only injuries do not call for emergency room treatment. Second of all, your optometrist is many times more equipped to deal with eye problems. Many emergency rooms don’t have eye-specific technologies on hand that your optometrist has at their disposal.

When You Need to Go to the ER

There are, of course, times that an ER trip is unavoidable. You don’t want to avoid going to the ER because you think it might not be that big of a deal. If you have any of these symptoms, you should head right into the ER:

  • Injuries involving other parts of the body in addition to the eyes
  • Impalement of the eye
  • Head trauma and suspected concussion or other neurological damage
  • Bleeding from the eye(s)

These situations call for an immediate trip to the ER and cannot be handled by a simple call to the optometrist.

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