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"Knowing what to do for an eye emergency can save valuable time and possibly prevent vision loss." - Prevent Blindness .org  Also, knowing who to see for an eye emergency, injury or infection can get you to feeling better sooner by cutting out the middle visit to the ER. The majority of people seen by their PCP, ER or urgent care for an eye issue are advised to schedule with their regular eye care provider. Drs. Cowan are highly skilled in handling all eye emergencies and most cases are seen the same day.   If you find yourself in an emergency situation involving your eyes, here are some key steps to follow. Remember NOT ALL EYE EMERGENCIES ARE TREATED THE SAME.

 Chemical Burns

  • In all cases of eye contact with chemicals:
  • Immediately flush the eye with water or any other drinkable liquid. Hold the eye under a faucet, shower or pour water into the eye using a clean container. Keep the eye open as wide as possible during flushing. Flush the eye for at least 15 minutes.
  • If a contact lens is in the eye, flush the eye with the lens in. Flushing may wash the lens out - this is okay.
  • DO NOT bandage the eye.
  • Seek emergency medical care promptly after flushing.


Specks in the Eye / Foreign Object   

  • DO NOT rub the eye.
  • Try to let tears wash the particle out or flush the eye with clean water, a sterile eye wash or contact lens solution.
  • Try lifting upper eyelid outward. Look down over the lower lid.
  • DO NOT use tweezers or any other item to try to remove the particle.
  • If the particle doesn't wash out, see an eye doctor immediately.


Blows to the Eye (Trauma)

  • Apply a cold compress without pressure
  • See an eye doctor in cases of pain, blurry vision, one eye sticks out more than the other, blood inside the eye or discoloration (black eye), which could mean internal eye damage.


Cuts and Punctures of Eye and Eyelid

  • DO NOT was out eye with water or any other liquid.
  • DO NOT try to remove an object that is stuck in the eye.
  • Cover the eye with a rigid shield or the bottom half of a paper cup without applying pressure. Secure the shield to the brow and the cheekbone with tape.
  • See an eye doctor immediately.

Bug bites, styes & pink eye are not considered eye emergencies but should still be treated by an eye doctor since each case is treated differently. 





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