Your eyes play such a vital role in your everyday life, so experiencing issues with your vision can be nerve-wracking. Whether you’ve accidentally scratched your eye during a DIY bang trim or you’re seeing flashes, seek medical attention immediately. Read up on the most common types of eye emergencies, so you can recognize the symptoms and receive help.
Common Eye Emergencies
Symptoms: Some people describe flashes of light in their eyes as small bright spots, while others see jagged, wavy lines. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, flashes of light in your vision do not come from physical light. These flashes come from either inside your eye or your brain. During an episode, you might even see halos around light fixtures or have distorted vision.
Causes: When vitreous (the clear gel inside your eye) shrinks or changes, it can pull on your retina, which is the light-sensitive lining of your eye. As a result, your retina can become torn or detached. Luckily, this can often be corrected with surgery if it is treated quickly. In some cases, an ocular migraine may be the cause of your seeing flashes. Seeing occasional flashes of light can be a part of the natural aging processes, but always consult with your optometrist or ophthalmologist about your symptoms.
Seeing Floaters and Spots
Symptoms: Eye floaters are small spots in your vision that show up in the form of black or gray specks or strings. Other people see nearly transparent outlines of shapes. If you are experiencing floaters, you might notice that these spots tend to drift when you move your eyes. Floaters are most noticeable when you are staring at something bright, like a white wall or a blue sky.
Causes: Seeing floaters can be a natural part of aging, because over the years the vitreous becomes more liquid than jelly-like. As a result, small fibers may clump together and cast shadows on your retina. However, if you notice an increase in the number of floaters you see, or you are also seeing flashes or experiencing peripheral vision loss, contact your optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately. In some cases, floaters are a sign of a torn or detached retina, internal bleeding in your eye, or a complication from eye surgery or medicine.
Sudden Vision Loss
Symptoms: If your vision loss occurs within the span of a few minutes or a few days, it is considered sudden vision loss, one of the most serious eye emergencies. At first, you might notice that it is harder to see out of one eye, and the deterioration can progress quickly. Vision loss sometimes begins with blurred vision, or your vision can become dimmed as if you are trying to see in a poorly lit room.
Causes: One of the most common causes of sudden vision loss is ischemia, which means your eye is not receiving enough blood due to an obstruction. Other causes of sudden vision loss include a detached retina or inflammation caused by an infection or a trauma to the eye. Are you experiencing gradual vision loss? The cause could be an overall health issue such as diabetes or glaucoma.
Cuts or Scrapes
Symptoms: If you’ve scratched the surface of your eye, you will likely experience pain and discomfort. You might feel like there is something stuck in your eye, and the feeling can either go away right away or feel worse in a few hours. Some cornea scratches can cause blurry vision and light sensitivity, and you might notice that your eye is red or irritated.
Causes: A sports injury, foreign objects like dirt or sand, misusing contacts, or even rubbing your eyes can damage the surface of your eye. If you’ve scratched your eye, rinse your eye with saltwater or a saline solution, and call your optometrist or ophthalmologist.
When it comes to eye emergencies, time is of the essence. Waiting to seek treatment could cost you your vision, so contact your eye-care specialist immediately.
If you live in southwest Missouri, contact Heffington’s. Since 1975, the Heffington family has been assisting the Springfield community with top-quality eye care and affordable eyeglasses and contacts. One of the unique features of our family-owned business is that we manufacture lenses at our own laboratory, giving us total control over the service and pricing, and we’re happy to pass our savings on to you. To learn more about our products and services, please get in touch with us online, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a call at 417-869-3937 (Optiland location) or 417-882-3937 (House of Vision location). We look forward to hearing from you!