The Most Common Eye Emergencies (and What You Should Do to Treat Them)

The risk of an eye accident is always present. A little splash of some chemicals or a small piece of debris can quickly cause an eye emergency situation. There are many ways you can accidentally damage your eye, and that’s why it’s so important to know what to expect and what you should do in case something happens to you or a loved one.

Of course, the best accident is the one that’s avoided, but unfortunately, that’s not always possible. That’s why Dr. Andrea J. Stein of Eye See Ravenswood in Chicago provides emergency care for when the need arises.

Preventing eye emergencies

Of course, preventive measures are critical. It’s important to do what you can to avoid a scary situation in the first place. To best prevent an eye emergency, take care to:

  • Childproof your home
  • Wear protective eyewear when using chemicals or working in your shop
  • Always follow manufacturer’s directions
  • Use caution around hot oil or grease

Even after successfully childproofing your home and taking all other precautionary measures, accidents can still happen. Don’t panic. Simply follow the steps below.

Common eye emergencies

It’s important to remember that any time a chemical or foreign object gets into your eye, you have an eye emergency. Without getting proper medical treatment quickly, an eye emergency has the potential to escalate to permanent vision loss.


Whether it’s cleaning products, gardening chemicals, or industrial liquids, any time something splashes in your eye, you could suffer from a chemical burn. If you get chemicals in your eyes, follow the following steps:

  • Wash your hands
  • Lean your head to the side
  • Hold your eyelid open
  • Flush with cool water for 15 minutes
  • Call Dr. Stein as soon as possible

Continue flushing your eye with cool water until you can see the doctor.

Foreign objects

A foreign object in your eye can be anything from a grain of sand to a piece of glass, and both can be equally dangerous if not treated in time. If you get something small in your eye, and blinking doesn’t get rid of it, don’t rub. Instead, try the following:

  • Wash your hands
  • Look at your eye to see if you can locate the irritant
  • Look behind your lower eyelid
  • Look under your upper eyelid
  • Use saline eye drops
  • Flush with cool water
  • Call us at Eye See Ravenswood

Even if you think you’ve safely removed the object, you’ll want to make an appointment with Dr. Stein to make sure everything is gone and your eye’s okay.

Black eye

If you’ve ever had a black eye, you know how painful it can be. Black eyes usually turn an angry purple or blue and can become swollen. It may appear that the black eye is only damaging the tissue of the outer area. But did you know that a blow to your eye can cause damage to the inside of your eye such as a detached retina? If you’ve experienced a blow to the face or eye area, it’s important to call us to make sure no additional damage has been done.

Symptoms and treatment

It’s possible that you aren’t even sure you’re dealing with an eye emergency, but if you experience any of the following, you should seek medical attention right away:

  • Double vision
  • Decreased vision or vision loss
  • Different sized pupils
  • Bleeding from the eye

Dr. Stein advises patients to avoid trying to administer first aid themselves, so don’t:

  • Use tools or devices in your eye
  • Apply pressure or rub the eye
  • Use medications
  • Use ointments on the eye
  • Remove contact lenses

If you experience any kind of eye emergency, call our office at 773-977-7016 to make an appointment right away.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *