How to Know If You Need Emergency Eye Care

October 6, 2021

An eye emergency is any situation with your eye that poses an immediate risk to your health or life. It may result from an incident or be an indicator of a condition that needs urgent intervention. Without proper care, something you think trivial could end up in partial loss of vision or total blindness. So if you suspect you need emergency eye care, get to a doctor or emergency room as soon as possible.


Some symptoms that may present are distinct to certain conditions. However, some are common to both incidences and conditions. Whatever the case, contact your doctor if you feel something in your eye or experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Bleeding or blood in the white of the eye.

  • Pain.

  • Blurry, partial or total loss of vision.

  • Extra sensitivity to light.

  • Burning or stinging.

  • Changes in eye or pupil shape.

  • Redness or irritation.

  • Discharge from the eye.

  • Flashes of light.

  • Paralysis of the eye.

  • Severe itching.

Let us look at a few of the above symptoms and what they may indicate.

Bleeding in the White of the Eye

Blood in the white of the eye could be simply because of allergies or dryness. The tiny blood vessels in the eye get infected or just irritated, swell up, and burst. This usually clears up in a day or two. 

However, injuries can cause a hyphema, the bleeding in the area between the iris and cornea. This causes pain, sensitivity to light, and cloudy or blurry vision with a red tint. It is a medical emergency and needs urgent intervention.

Partial or Total Loss of Vision

Gradual blurry vision may not be a reason to panic as this may indicate your eyes are changing. You may need to see an optometrist have your prescription changed. However, sudden blurred vision may be a sign of a larger health issue. In such a case, you need to book an appointment with your eye doctor right away.

Burning or Stinging

This may be a sign of tiredness or irritation from dust or other allergens. But it may also be an indication of a scratch in your eye. This is also known as corneal abrasion. This can happen if you get dirt, chemicals, or foreign matter in your eye. It can also be due to dirty, overworn, or poorly fitting contact lenses. In severe cases, it may indicate conditions like blepharitis or keratitis. 

If you feel burning or stinging, do not rub your eye. Instead, blink several times, pull your upper lid over the lower one, and rinse your eye out with clean water.

Flashes of Light

Flashes of light accompanied by distorted vision and throbbing headaches may simply indicate you have a migraine. However, you may suddenly start seeing flashes of light either as the result of an injury or rubbing your eyes too hard. This requires immediate medical attention as it may indicate a torn or detached retina. It’s a condition that, if not treated, may lead to blindness.

If you need more information on emergency eye care, visit Eye Associates of New York at our offices in New York, New York. You can call (212) 650-4888 today to schedule an appointment.

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