Eye Emergencies

Overview & Description

There are three levels of eye emergencies:

1. true emergencies that require immediate treatment within seconds or minutes

2. urgent situations requiring diagnosis and treatment within 1 to severalhours

3. semiurgent situations that call for treatment within days or weeks

What is the information for this topic?

It’s important to seek appropriate and timely treatment for eyeproblems to avoid visual impairments.

Trueemergencies must be treated within minutes. There are really only twotrue emergencies of the eye:

  • chemical burns, which occur when caustic solutions are splashed into theeye
  • retinal artery occlusion, which causes sudden painless loss of vision inone eye when the main artery to the retina is blocked
  • Urgent situations require therapy to bestarted within hours. Some examples include:

  • acute glaucoma,which is a sudden rise in pressure in the eyeball that causes pain anddecreased vision
  • cellulitis, an infection of the eye socket that causes pain andswelling
  • corneal abrasions, orscratches on the cornea, often caused by a foreign body
  • corneal ulcers, which are small painful sores on the cornea
  • endophthalmitis, an infection inside the eye that causes suddensevere eye pain and visualimpairment
  • hyphema, or bleeding in the front chamber of the eye caused byblunt trauma
  • iritis, an inflammation of the iris that causes acute eye pain, redness,and sensitivity to light
  • lid lacerations, or cuts on the upper or lower eyelid
  • penetrating injury of the eyeball by a foreign body
  • retinal detachments andtears, which cause a sudden onset of flashing lights or floaters and a shadowover part of the field of vision
  • Semiurgent situations require therapy to be startedwithin days or a few weeks. Some examples include:

  • exophthalmos, or a bulging of the eyeball with an appearance of staring
  • fractures of the facial bones that involve the eye socket
  • muscle imbalances in the eye
  • opticneuritis, an inflammation of the optic nerve that causes suddenblurring and/or dimming of vision in one or both eyes
  • tumors of the eye, optic nerve, or orbit
  • Article type: xmedgeneral