Eye emergencies

There are certain situations where a vision problem requires immediate treatment, regardless of the time or day.  Every patient is unique, but the following list covers the most common problems that may need immediate medical attention:

  • Rapid or gradual loss of full or partial vision.
  • Rapid or progressive onset of eye pain.
  • Trauma that damages the globe or bones surrounding the eye socket.
  • Severe blunt trauma from a blow to the eye with a fist or high-velocity object like a tennis ball, even if the pain subsides.
  • Sudden onset of double vision or other visual distortions.
  • Extreme sensitivity to light.
  • Severe red eye, with our without discharge.
  • Recent onset of significant flashes or floaters.
  • Chemical burns of any type.
  • Foreign bodies embedded in the eye.


A patient should proceed directly to an emergency room for injuries sustained in industrial accidents, motor vehicle accidents, fistfights and other similar traumatic situations.  The emergency room is also the best choice in situations where the (a) eye globe has been punctured, (b) where this is significant bleeding, or (c) when other parts of the body are also injured.  Patients with chemical burns should flush their affected eye(s) under running water for 15 – 20 minutes before seeking treatment.

For less traumatic problems, we encourage patients to call our office if they have any concerns regarding their medical condition.  Our Patient Care Coordinator will review your message, pull your medical chart, and then consult with a doctor to determine when you should be seen.