Eye doctors across the world treat and diagnose many eye conditions daily. Many of us might assume some of them as “emergencies”, though they are not. A true eye emergency or ocular emergency is the one that can result in permanent vision loss if not treated urgently.

An instant detection and appropriate treatment of such emergencies are essential. Some of the common ocular emergencies include a penetrating globe injury, retinal detachment, central retinal artery occlusion and chemical burns. It is estimated that millions of eye injuries occur every year in across the world a significant number of which lead to vision loss.

Ruptured Globe

An eye injury or trauma could cause the eye to rupture. Such condition needs to be surgically repaired to close the rupture. For a small rupture the eye could be saved from the damage and the vision could be restored, however with a large rupture it is often difficult to regain vision.

Retinal detachment

A retinal detachment is initiated by tear or hole in the retina and is commonly seen in people who are highly myopic, or near-sighted. The symptoms of retinal detachment are an increase of floaters, flashes of light and gradual loses in vision.

Central Retinal Artery Occlusion

CRAO or Central Retinal Artery Occlusion is a sudden painless loss of vision. CRAO could cause permanent eye loss within few hours of initial symptoms. This happens when the central retinal artery is clogged and could not provide the retina with oxygen and results in permanent blindness.  Also with age, a condition called Giant Cell Arthritis could also cause this condition.

Orbital Cellulitis

This condition is caused by infection that causes limited eye function. This condition is painful and usually results from a sinus infection that has spread to the surrounding tissue. The infection gets to the eyes and makes it look swollen and pop out. An immediate surgery is required to allow the formed orbit to breathe and decrease the pressure.

Chemical Burns

Chemical eye injuries are caused due to an acidic or alkali substance entering in the eye causing severe burns. This may cause the cornea to turn white and requires immediate intervention. Chemical injuries to the eye can produce extensive damage to the ocular surface and anterior segment leading to permanent visual impairment and disfigurement.

There could be other eye emergencies that need immediate attention such as eye infections like conjunctivitis or foreign material that can’t be removed easily at home but these are not considered as “true eye emergencies” as they are not such time sensitive for treatment.

However simple or emergent an eye condition may appear to a person, it is important to immediately see a doctor and get it treated. A skillful eye specialist is the best person to judge and treat eye emergencies in the best possible way.