We offer emergency services that require immediate and urgent eye care. If your eye is injured, don't try to judge the severity of it. Immediately seek the opinion of an eye doctor to lessen the risk of hurting your vision. We understand ocular emergencies can arise at any time.
Please call Dr. Hopkins & Associates Optometry for further instructions. Use your best judgment on urgency, if you feel your need to find the nearest emergency room.
Eye Safety & Eye Injury Prevention
This short video stresses the importance of knowing the hazards at home and the workplace regarding your eyes. In this video, we review a few actual incidents where people lost part or all of their vision, along with one whose vision was saved by safety eyewear.
Symptoms that require emergency service include, but are not limited to:
- Eye infections
- Foreign materials stuck in the eyes
- Eye trauma
- Scratched eyes
- Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
- Lost or broken contact lenses or eyeglasses
- Flashes of light in the vision
- “Floaters” in the vision
- Red or painful eyes
- Dislodged contact lenses
- Uncomfortable, itchy, or irritated eyes
Things NOT to do while waiting for professional medical assistance:
- DO NOT press on an injured eye or allow the victim to rub the eye(s).
- DO NOT attempt to remove a foreign body that is resting on the cornea (the clear surface of the eye through which we see) or that appears to be embedded in any part of the eye.
- DO NOT use dry cotton (including cotton swabs) or sharp instruments (such as tweezers) on the eye.
- DO NOT attempt to remove an embedded object.
Studies have shown that an overwhelming number of emergency room visits could have been treated by an optometrist. These ranged from foreign bodies to severe eye allergies to eye infections as the most common reasons for emergency room visits. It is not always necessary to go to an emergency room for eye emergencies. Optometrists are equipped to treat the majority of eye emergencies.
We understand the importance of eye care when you encounter symptoms such as those listed above. These are signs that an immediate evaluation or consultation is necessary - please call Dr. Hopkins & Associates Optometry to set one up if you are experiencing an eye emergency of any kind.
DO call our optometry practice in Niagara-on-the-Lake or St. Catharines at 905-468-8002 and St. Catharines at 905-682-9119 for further instructions!
Foreign Body Removal
A foreign body is something such as an eyelash, sawdust, sand, or dirt can that gets into the eyes. The main symptom is irritation or pain. Depending on what it is and how the injury happened, the foreign body may pierce the eye and cause serious injury or it may simply go away with no long-term problem.
The foreign object may set off an inflammatory cascade, resulting in dilation of the surrounding vessels and subsequent edema of the lids, conjunctiva, and cornea. If not removed, a foreign body can cause infection.
If anything is stuck in your eye for more than a period of a couple of hours, you must immediately cease all attempts to remove it yourself. Keep in mind that the eyes are an extremely delicate organ and any attempts to try anything extraordinary with them can only have negative and adverse results. If the foreign body you are talking about is not bothering you too much, then you are advised to visit an eye doctor to take care of it. If not you may need to call to emergency service of your region.
If there is a foreign body in your eye, such as a piece of grit, your eye doctor may try and remove it. They will put anaesthetic eye drops in your eye first, in order to numb it and prevent any pain.
If the foreign body is easy to get to, it may be possible to remove it by simply rinsing your eye with water, or by wiping it away with a cotton wool bud or triangle of a card. However, if this is unsuccessful, your eye doctor may try and remove the foreign body by lifting it out with the tip of a small metal instrument.
The foreign body could be stuck underneath your upper eyelid, especially if you can feel something there, or you have scratches or grazes (abrasions) on the top half of the transparent outer layer of your eye (cornea). If this is the case, it may be necessary to gently turn your eyelid inside out in order to remove the foreign body.
Once the anesthetic eye drops have worn off, your eye may feel a bit uncomfortable until your abrasion heals.
Whatever is happening with your eyes or if you suffer or even suspect that a foreign body has penetrated the outer eye layer better go without delay to the nearest treatment center. Doing nothing can lead to loss of vision, premature cataracts and damage to the retina so do not take any chances, a delay is dangerous.