Ballantyne Vision Care offers emergency services. Dr. Ballantyne and Dr. McConkie offer emergency services that require immediate and urgent eye care. If your eye is injured, don’t try to judge the severity of it. Immediately seek the opinion of an eye doctor to lessen the risk of hurting your vision. We understand ocular emergencies can arise at any time.
Please call our La Junta office : (719) 383-0134 for further instructions. Use your best judgment on urgency, if you feel your need to find the nearest emergency room.
Symptoms that require emergency service include, but are not limited to:
- Sudden loss of vision
- Sudden double vision
- Sudden red/painful eye
- Pink Eye
- New onset flashes and/or floaters
- Foreign body in the eye (especially metal or chemicals)
Things NOT to do while waiting for professional medical assistance:
- DO NOT press on an injured eye or allow the victim to rub the eye(s).
- DO NOT attempt to remove a foreign body that is resting on the cornea (the clear surface of the eye through which we see) or that appears to be embedded in any part of the eye.
- DO NOT use dry cotton (including cotton swabs) or sharp instruments (such as tweezers) on the eye.
- DO NOT attempt to remove an embedded object.
Q&A on Eye Emergencies with Dr. McConkie
What is an eye infection?
Eye infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and other organisms and usually cause redness, swelling, and discomfort. Some eye infections, especially if left untreated, can lead to permanent vision loss. It is in your best interest to see an eye doctor for complications related to your eyes so that prompt, appropriate treatment can be initiated.
What should I do if I spill chemicals in my eye?
Remove contact lenses immediately, if applicable. Flush eye(s) for 20 minutes with tap water while holding eye lids open. If a child has a chemical in his eye, put him in the bath tub and flush the eye(s) with a steady stream of water for 20 minutes. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Seek immediate care.
What should I do if I get sand, metal, or wood, in my eyes?
Keep the eye closed or limit blinking, if possible. Seek immediate care so that proper assessment and treatment can be initiated.
I am seeing spots or floating colors suddenly
New onset floaters, flashes of light, or other abnormal changes in vision require a prompt dilated eye exam in order to assess complete ocular health. There are no pain receptors in the back of the eyes; sometimes the retina is damaged, but we do not feel any pain. For this reason, timely care is necessary.
Are eye infections dangerous?
Some eye infections, especially if left untreated, can lead to permanent vision loss. It is in your best interest to see an eye doctor for complications related to your eyes so that prompt, appropriate treatment can be initiated.
Can my child go to school with an eye infection?
Redness, pain, swelling, and discharge of the eyes can be caused by many things, including eye infections. The first step is to verify that your child does have a true eye infection (it might be something else). An appropriate treatment plan and follow-up schedule will be discussed on the day of the exam.
Foreign Body Removal
I have sand stuck in my eye, is it dangerous?
Any foreign material in the eye can result in injury to the cornea and conjunctiva which can lead to severe discomfort and temporary or permanent vision loss if not removed.
I have something stuck in my eye, how should I remove it?
If you can see the foreign material in your eye and you are comfortable doing so, you can gently flush your eye with water or saline solution. If the foreign body persists, or you do not feel comfortable doing this yourself, one of our doctors would be happy to assist you.
I feel like I have dirt in my eye when I wear contact lenses, is that dangerous?
The sensation that your contact lenses are dirty can be caused by several different things. A thorough eye exam is advisable if you are having these symptoms so that the exact cause can be determined.
I spilled some chemical in my eye, should I remove my contacts or leave them in?
Remove your contact lenses immediately if you spill chemicals in your eyes. Then flush your eyes for 20 minutes with water. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and seek immediate care.
My child scratched his eye…what should I do?
If you suspect that your child has a scratch on his/her eye, you should have it evaluated by an eye-care professional as soon as possible.
Is a scratch on the eye dangerous?
A scratch on the surface of the eye is like having a cut/abrasion elsewhere on the body and is at risk for infection, which can lead to scarring and permanent vision loss.
I got hit in the eye with a baseball, is that dangerous for my vision?
Yes, this can cause trauma not only to the front of the eye but also to the retina. There are no pain receptors in the back of the eye and you can experience damage to the retina and not necessarily know it.
Should I visit an eye doctor if I got a black eye?
Yes, especially if you have any associated pain on eye movement, loss of vision, or abnormal vision. Any traumatic event to the head or eye(s) can cause damage to the ocular structures and surrounding tissues.
I have pain in my eye after getting a black eye, should I visit the emergency room or an eye doctor?
Come visit with us and we can make an appropriate referral if needed. Often the ER refers patients to us because they simply do not have the equipment necessary to diagnose many ocular complications.
My toddler is complaining that his eye hurts, should I make an appointment with the Optometrist?
Yes, especially if the complaint is persistent or if your child has never had an eye exam. Many children experience vision problems but do not know any different and often do not complain. If they are complaining, there is likely a reason.
My child came home from school saying that his eye hurts, what should I do?
If there is any associated swelling, redness, or discharge you should visit with an eye doctor as soon as you can. Asymmetric or incomplete visual function can also lead to ocular discomfort and should be evaluated by an eye care provider.
My child’s eye looks very red, what should I do?
Schedule to see an eye doctor as soon as possible.
My child has a weird bump in his eye, should I make an appointment?
If the bump is new, painful, has abnormal borders or coloration, or has increased in size, we highly recommend that you make an appointment to have it evaluated.
I just lost my vision in one eye, should I visit the emergency room?
We are best equipped to evaluate the reason for the vision loss in this type of situation. Call us and we will get you in immediately for evaluation. If a referral is needed after initial assessment, we will make sure that you are sent to the appropriate specialist.
My eye is bleeding what should I do?
If you are bleeding profusely from one or both eyes or have been in a traumatic accident, visit the ER. If there is mild bleeding associated with other redness and inflammation, schedule an appointment with us and we will get you on the road to recovery.
I am seeing double, should I go to the eye doctor?
Yes! There are a myriad of different reasons why you may be experiencing double vision and a comprehensive examination with an eye doctor is highly recommended.
I have severe pain in my eye, what do I do?
There are many reasons that you may be experiencing severe pain. If you are having ‘the worst headache of your life,’ get to the ER as soon as possible. If the pain is associated with recent trauma to the eye (cat scratch, tree branch, etc.), come and see us as soon as possible.
I feel a lot of pressure behind my eye, what should I do?
Schedule a dilated eye exam with us so we can help you rule out ocular etiologies that may be causing the pressure.
**This information does not constitute medical advice. Each case is treated on an individual basis and an eye exam should be scheduled to address personal needs.