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Many eye problems are non-emergencies, but it can be difficult to know when to seek treatment. In this post we will discuss three common non-emergency eye problems. While foreign matter in the eye, corneal abrasions and lacerations, and flash burns are typically not serious, care should be taken in evaluating your injury and need for treatment. There are situations in which these injuries could require urgent or emergency care. If you believe you are having an eye emergency, seek help immediately. For less serious, non-emergency eye problems, call Silverstein Eye Centers at 816-358-3600 to make an appointment to have your situation evaluated.

FOREIGN MATTER (DUST, SAND, GRIT)

Almost everyone has experienced a speck of dust or sand in the eye at some point. Typically such debris is little more than irritating, and often results in extra tear production as the body naturally reacts in an attempt to flush the matter away. Usually, all that is needed in this situation is to flush the eyes with clean water, saline, or eye drops. If flushing does not help, consult your eye doctor. Avoid rubbing the eye in order to avoid corneal abrasions from the foreign material. If the foreign matter penetrates the eye, leave it in place, and seek emergency assistance. Our next post will discuss foreign objects more in depth.

CORNEAL ABRASIONS AND LACERATIONS

Thankfully, the cornea of the eye – the transparent portion over the front of the eye – is incredibly resilient. Mild abrasions and lacerations may feel similar to having sand or grit in the eye, and the body responds similarly. The difference is that there is nothing to flush out, and this sensation will persist until the eye heals. An abrasion is like a scratch while a laceration is an actual cut. In many cases, no treatment is necessary, but if you are experiencing pain that won’t go away or if the injury is impeding your vision, consult your eye doctor to assess the damage and whether any eye drops or ointments are needed to promote healing or prevent infection. If a laceration to the eye is deep, oozes, or bleeds, cover it with clean gauze and seek emergency attention.

CORNEAL FLASH BURN

A corneal flash burn is best described as a sunburn of the eye. The most common causes are looking directly at the sun, excessive glare off of water or snow, sun lamps, and welding torches. Flash burns range from mild to serious. In mild cases, the cornea will repair itself in a few a few days; however, you should still see your eye doctor as flash burns do require treatment to prevent scarring and vision loss due to infection. In situations where the flash burn results in vision changes (including blurring or seeing spots or flashes of light), pain on moving the eyes, or increasing pain, seek emergency help as the burn may be serious.

There are many other types of eye injuries, and it would be impossible to cover them all in a single post. Look for additional posts in the future about other eye injuries and complications. In our next post we will discuss four eye emergencies. Your Silverstein Eye Centers doctors are always here to answer your needs and address your injuries or other eye concerns. To make an appointment, call us today at 816-358-3600.

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