What is an eye emergency? - Specialist Ophthalmologist
We have all got shampoo or soap in an eye at one point or another. While this may lead to some stinging and minor irritation for the eye, does this really count as an eye emergency? Read on to learn what is an eye emergency is. Plus what you should and should not do during an eye emergency.
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What is an eye emergency?

What is an eye emergency

What is an eye emergency?

We have all had soap or shampoo in our eye at some point and while it does sting for a while, does it really count as an eye emergency? At what point should we be contacting professionals and getting medical attention?

Eye emergencies usually happen suddenly, like something going into the eye, or the sudden onset of symptoms like vision loss. While some eye issues, such as infections may be uncomfortable, unpleasant and painful, most don’t fall into the category of an emergency, however, they can become critical if left untreated.

Signs you should be seeking medical attention:


  • Prolonged burning or stinging
  • Pupils that are not the same size
  • One eye is not moving like the other
  • One eye is sticking out or bulging
  • Decreased or double vision
  • Redness and irritation
  • Sudden light sensitivity
  • Severe itching
  • new or severe headaches


When should you seek immediate medical attention?


  • There is bruising around the eye.
  • Bleeding from the eye.
  • Blood in the white part of the eye.
  • Discharge from the eye.
  • Loss of side (peripheral) vision.
  • Sudden vision loss.
  • Swelling of or around the eye.
  • Sudden onset of flashes or floaters.


If there is any form of physical trauma or injury to your eye such as impact from a blunt object or an object getting lodged in the eye, you should visit an emergency room as soon as possible.

What should you never do if you have an eye emergency?


  • Apply pressure to your eye.
  • Rub your eye.
  • Try to remove foreign objects that are stuck in any part of your eye.
  • Use any tweezers or any other tools in your eye (cotton swabs can be used, but only on the eyelid).
  • Apply any medications or ointments to or in your eye.
  • Do not remove your contact lenses if you wear them.


Without proper treatment, eye damage can lead to partial loss of vision or even permanent blindness. Should you experience an eye emergency, it is critical to first be assessed by a trauma doctor who will then contact an eye specialist.


To contact the Sandton Eye Clinic call 011 884 5624 or 011 884 5625 or for advice in case of emergency, call 083 320 2211.

[Additional information sourced from Health Line]

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