Top 4 Reasons to Seek Emergency Care

Certain vision symptoms can be quite frightening. Many eye conditions are minor and temporary, but changes in your vision should always be examined by a medical professional. These vision symptoms could signal an eye disease, an eye injury or a condition that may be affecting the entire body. The following four vision symptoms require immediate attention from a doctor.

1
You have sudden, unexplained loss of vision.

Emergency room staff. Caiaimage/Robert Daly

Sudden loss of vision can be very disturbing. Three very serious conditions that may cause acute vision loss include anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (AION), central retinal artery occlusion and complete retinal detachment.

2
You have pain in or around your eyes.

Some people describe eye pain as dull, sharp, gritty, burning, aching or stabbing. Eye pain is often categorized as either ocular pain (on the surface of the eye) and orbital pain (behind or in the eye.) Some causes of ocular pain are corneal abrasions and ulcers, chemical and flash burns, eyelid styes, conjunctivitis and dry eye syndrome. Causes of orbital pain include acute angle-closure glaucoma, uveitis, trauma, tumors and migraines.

3
You are experiencing flashing light or floating objects in your vision.

Flashes of light (photopsia) or floaters are often signs of a retinal tear or detachment. A retinal detachment is similar to a piece of wallpaper peeling off a wall. If it tears or peels off, the retina may flap or move around in the eye, causing flashes of light or floaters. Floaters may also be a sign of a less serious condition known as a posterior vitreal detachment (PVD). Having a PVD slightly increases the risk for retinal detachment, which is a serious medical emergency.

4
You slept in contacts and woke up with a painful, light sensitive, red eye.

Waking up with a light sensitive, painful, red eye after sleeping in contact lenses is often an early sign of a corneal ulcer. It is possible that your eye is only inflamed from having slept in contact lenses. However, if the diagnosis is truly a corneal ulcer, medical therapy should be started immediately to reduce the chances of permanent corneal scarring and reduced vision. Time is of the essence, as an ulcer can become quite severe in only 48 hours. Whether you should be sleeping in your contact lenses is a topic that should be discussed thoroughly with your eye doctor.

Continue Reading