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Home » News » My eye is tender and painful – is it an eye emergency?

My eye is tender and painful – is it an eye emergency?

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How to know when you need emergency eye care

An eye emergency includes: chemicals or a foreign object getting into and irritating your eye, or suffering an injury or burn to your eye and/or the surrounding area. Typically, these occurrences will cause your eye to feel painful and tender. Sometimes the symptoms are temporary and heal on their own, but other times these problems can lead to some vision loss and permanent damage. Don’t take risks – your problem may be an eye emergency that requires treatment. Contact our eye doctor in Washington, D.C., , or , District of Columbia, for an urgent eye exam!

What are the common symptoms of an eye emergency?

The way you feel is individual, and eye emergencies span a wide array of incidents and symptoms, but the some signs include:

  • Vision loss, decreased vision
  • Stinging or burning
  • Severe itching
  • Redness and irritation
  • Discharge from the eye
  • Bleeding from the eye, blood in the white of your eye
  • Painful vision
  • Tender eye, bruising around the eye
  • Pupils that are not equal size
  • One eye is bulging
  • One eye isn’t moving like the other one
  • Double vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • New or severe headaches

These symptoms may be a warning sign that you need to visit an eye care center near you! Contact one of our Washington Eye Doctors optometry offices for assistance.

What should I do if I have an eye emergency?

The way you respond depends on the type of eye injury you’re dealing with. Here’s a review of the best first responses to an eye emergency, all of which should be followed by a visit to your eye doctor.

Eye cuts and puncture wounds

The most important guideline to follow is to NOT rub your eye or surrounding skin. Cover your eye with a hard, circular object, such as the bottom of a paper cup. Don’t put pressure on your eye while supporting this protective shield, and attach it over your eye gently with a piece of tape. Head to your eye doctor or nearby emergency eye care center immediately.

Blunt force trauma to your eye

If you get smacked in the eye with a ball or any forceful object, gently place an ice pack or cold compress against your eye as soon as possible. It’s important to keep your head elevated while doing this, in order to minimize inflammation. If you experience any changes to your vision or your eye is very painful and tender, visit your eye doctor.

Objects stuck in your eye

Don’t rub your eye, doing this can scratch your cornea by moving the foreign body around under your eyelid. If the object has penetrated your eye, don’t attempt to remove it on your own – go to an eye doctor for emergency eye care. If the object is not embedded in your eye, flush your eyes with water or an eye wash to rinse out the item, or use a damp swab of cotton to try to gently remove it. If you’re not successful, visit your eye care center.

When chemicals splash into your eye

Chemicals, including basic household cleaners, can damage your eye. The first thing to do is flush out your eye with water – immediately! Don’t cover your eye; instead, hold your eye wide open beneath a stream of water for about 15 minutes, allowing the water to run over it. Then contact your eye doctor for assistance, or visit an eye clinic near you for an eye exam.

Eye protection comes first

While we hope these tips will be helpful in the event of an eye emergency, the #1 tip we have to offer is to safeguard your eyes as much as possible so you never need to follow these instructions! Protective eyewear can prevent many eye emergencies. You can check out our collection of safety goggles and sports eyewear in Washington, D.C., , and , District of Columbia – we’ll match you with the best protective glasses for the activities you do.

At Washington Eye Doctors, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 202-335-5032 or book an appointment online to see one of our Washington, D.C. eye doctors.

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