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EYE EMERGENCIES

The human eye is delicate and very susceptible to injury.

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Eye Emergencies

A sudden injury not only causes pain, but can have some pretty serious complications to your health. Certain areas of the human body are more susceptible to injury than others and can cause long-term damage.

They say that the eyes are the window to the soul, but they are also one of the most sensitive and important areas of the body. Any injury to the eye can negatively impact your vision and should be checked as soon as possible.

Common Eye Injuries

Many eye injuries happen at school, in the office, at home, or while traveling. Sports activities are one of the most common sources of eye injuries. On-site job visits, such as in the construction industry, are another source of frequent eye emergencies.

Dr. Christopher Keats treats many types of eye emergencies, such as:

  • Chemical exposure
  • Concussion
  • “Floaters” in the vision
  • Dislodged contact lenses
  • Eye infections
  • Eye trauma
  • Flashes of light in the vision
  • Foreign materials stuck in the eyes
  • Lost or broken contact lenses or eyeglasses
  • Red or painful eyes
  • Scratched eyes
  • Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Uncomfortable, itchy, or irritated eyes

Scleral lenses can provide effective relief, as well. These are custom-designed rigid contact lenses with a large diameter that cover the entire sclera (the white part of the eye) without touching the cornea. Scleral lenses contain a tiny pool of water, providing constant moisture to dry eyes.

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Common Causes of Eye Injury

Chemical Exposure and Your Eyes

Many people assume that exposure to chemicals affects only the skin and lungs. However, even mild exposure to chemicals in household cleaning products can damage your vision.

Chemicals like sodium hydroxide can be found in oven and drain cleaners. Air fresheners and leather cleaners may contain formaldehyde, which in high amounts, has been linked to certain types of cancer. Exposure to these substances can cause itching, burning, redness, or soreness in the eyes.

The #1 way to lower your risk is to wash your hands thoroughly after handling cleaning products. Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes until your hands are washed and clear of any lingering chemical substances. If the pain persists, contact your eye doctor.

Concussions

A concussion is an injury to the brain caused by a physical trauma, known as a Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI. This is typically caused by a sudden blow or bump to the head, which makes the brain move around inside the head. A concussion can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, or sudden light sensitivity.Concussions can lead to vision problems, including blurry or double vision, eyestrain, problems with eye coordination, and reading difficulties.If you or a loved one has experienced a concussion, contact our office immediately. Dr. Christopher Keats will perform a comprehensive eye exam to check your visual acuity and overall eye health to ensure that the injury hasn’t negatively impacted your everyday activities.

Dislodged Contact Lenses

For contact lens wearers, getting lenses stuck in the eye can be a painful experience. This happens when the lens folds itself or moves underneath the eyelid. Simply massage your eye and the lens will usually move or fall out on its own. If it feels dry, administer some rewetting drops or artificial tears to moisturize the area.A dislodged lens may also be a sign of poor fit. In these cases, we can simply examine your eye and outfit you for better fitting contact lenses.Should you be unsuccessful at dislodging a stuck contact lens by yourself, that’s where we come in. Visit Northwood Vision and we’ll remove it and get you back to comfortable lens wear.

Eye Infections

A highly common eye emergency, eye infections can be serious and contagious, depending on the type of infection you have. One of the most prevalent eye infections is conjunctivitis, also known as “pink eye.” This occurs when the conjunctiva, which is a thin membrane that lines the eyelids and sclera (white part of the eye), become inflamed or swollen. The sclera usually turns dark pink or red, and the eyes become watery and include a mucus discharge.

Pink eye is contagious and spreads quickly, especially around children in daycare and schools. Fortunately, we can treat eye infections with antibiotic eye drops or ointment. These usually eradicate the infection quickly. In more severe cases, Dr. Christopher Keats may recommend an alternative course of action.

Foreign Materials Stuck in the Eyes

Getting something stuck in your eye can be excruciating. Even a tiny eyelash that falls into the eye can be very painful and immediately cause your eyes to water, itch, burn, or sting. If a foreign particle gets into your eye, rinse your eye with cold water for 15 minutes. If that doesn’t wash it away, seek medical care immediately. A sharp piece of debris like a tiny shard of glass or pebble can scratch the cornea, known as a corneal abrasion. A deep abrasion can lead to eye infection or a corneal ulcer, so if you experience a foreign substance in your eye without successfully flushing it out on your own, contact your eye doctor as soon as possible.

Itchy or Irritated Eyes

Perhaps one of the most frequently reported symptoms, itchiness or irritation in the eyes can be a sign of various eye diseases or conditions. Itchy eyes are often a symptom of Dry Eye Disease, a condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tears to keep the eyes lubricated.Itchy eyes can signify a corneal scratch, also known as a corneal abrasion. This happens when something scratches the cornea of your eye, like a fingertip or a tiny grain of sand. Even rubbing your eyes excessively can cause a corneal abrasion.

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Dear Northwood Vision patient,

COVID-19 has the potential to cause grave harm to many of the citizens in our population. According to Harvard epidemiologist Dr. Mark Lipsitch it is likely that at least between 40-70 % of the population will become infected with COVID-19. This virus is twice as contagious as the flu. About 80 percent will not have severe concerns, but based on the current data, 20% of the infected will become severe or critical, needing some form of hospital care to do well. Currently, about 30 % of those who become classified as severe based on WHO classification, will not survive. These are the unfortunate realities at the moment.

Meanwhile, at Northwood Vision, we want to do as much as possible to minimize this risk, to prevent mortality and long term side effects, while doing our best to provide the services our patients need. We are convinced you care about these same things. (Read more)

Here is what we are asking you to do to make a smaller exposure footprint:

  1. If you have any symptoms of a cold or flu (coughing, fever, difficulty breathing, running nose, etc), please reschedule your appointment for at least one month from now.
  2. Try not to touch any surfaces in the office you do not have to touch.
  3. If you are trying on glasses, DO NOT put the frames back on the shelf. Rather, we will collect them from you for proper cleaning before they are returned to the shelves.
  4. If you are ordering contact lenses, a year supply (and some 6 month supplies) order can be direct shipped to your home at no cost. Please take advantage of this so you don’t have to come into the office more than necessary.
  5. If you do need to come into the office for an adjustment, please call the office at 727-725-5558 when you arrive in your vehicle. We will let you know if there is a wait and will put you on a list so we can call or text you to come therefore minimizing the time you are in the enclosed space of our office.
  6. Please come to your appointment with the least number of people possible to reduce exposure to them and to others at the office.
  7. If you have any loved ones that have been exposed to the virus or certainly if they have symptoms of a respiratory illness, please wear a mask in case you are an asymptomatic carrier, or if possible, wait at least 4 weeks before coming in for non-essential care.

In an effort to protect you, here is what we are doing to help lower your risk:

  1. All surfaces in the office will be cleaned several times per day with antiviral/antibacterial cleaner. Surfaces in the exam room will be cleaned thoroughly in between each patient.
  2. No sick or symptomatic staff will be permitted to work while sick with a known viral respiratory infection or symptoms, or while directly caring for a sick relative/friend.
  3. For your safety, payments can be done ahead of time over the phone if you call ahead. This will decrease the amount of time you are in the store and your exposure risk in our enclosed space.
  4. No glasses frames other patients try on will be put back on display until the frames are cleaned with an antiviral cleanser.
  5. We are actively asking patients to reschedule for 4 weeks later if they have any symptoms themselves or in their family/ social network.
  6. We are giving options for patients to acquire goods by mail rather than coming into the store.
  7. We altering our schedule to decrease the number of patients that might be in the office at the same time to maximize social distancing.
  8. We are practicing frequent hand washing at our office to protect you and each other.
  9. We will ask patients to reschedule if they present to our clinic with a cough or other COVID-19 symptoms.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this stressful and trying time. Let us all work together to lower risk of the spread so that less people die and less people have permanent side effects from COVID-19. Each of us can do our part. May God bless each of you and keep you well. Thank you for your understanding and care for your fellow humans.

Dr. Christopher K. Keats, OD