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Emergency Eye Care

When can you come here and when do you need to go to the emergency room?


Come to see us at Northwood Vision when you have one of the following:

  1. You scratched your eye, something hit your eye and it is now red and painful, or you are worried something may have penetrated your eye.
  2. You have something stuck on the surface of your eye or under your lid or you had debris blown in your eye and it hurts.
  3. You have a welder’s flash burn.
  4. You have rubbed your eyes so much they have become very swollen, it is difficult to open them, and they look glassy in the mirror.
  5. You have colored discharge coming out of your eye, and it’s worse in the morning (eyelids stuck shut).
  6. You have flashes of light or floating shadows that suddenly started in the last day or two.
  7. You are having eye pain that is significant, especially if it has occurred after over-wearing or sleeping in your contact lenses.
  8. You broke your only pair of glasses and you are not able to see to drive.
  9. You got a harsh chemical in your eyes. (Flush continuously with clean water or saline for 30 minutes before coming to see us.)
  10. You have had a sudden loss of vision that occurred over an hour ago. If less than 30 minutes ago, head directly to the ER to rule out stroke risk, as rapid intervention will likely be key to measurable recovery to your sight in the event of a stroke in one of your eye’s blood vessels.
  11. You have had a total loss of or marked reduction to your center vision or your peripheral vision over an hour ago in one or both eyes.
  12. You have red, uncomfortable eyes with no symptoms of COVID-19 and no known exposure to COVID-19 (like symptoms of loss of taste or smell, upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, cough, and shortness of breath.) Please do not come to this office with COVID-19 symptoms.

Go to the Emergency Room when:

  1. You have red uncomfortable eyes after exposure to COVID-19 or if you have symptoms of COVID-19 such as loss of taste or smell, upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Call your family doctor first for instructions. We will not be able to see you here with COVID-19 symptoms.
  2. You got stabbed in the eye and the object has obviously penetrated the eyeball.
  3. You suddenly lost your vision within the last few minutes and are concerned you are having a stroke. If this occurred, it is important to unblock the vessel in less than 45 minutes. Call the ER and have them tell you what to do on your way there.

Emergency care services can be filed under your medical health insurance. Please tell our staff your health plan so we can determine if we take your insurance. We will be a “specialist” under your plan for copay determination. If you need a primary care doctor referral to be seen, please let us know. (If you have a need for new glasses due to breakage, this care would be done under vison insurance.) Our total care billing may be less than your copay just to go to the ER. We will likely be more equipped to handle your medical care as stated above in the care we provide than the ER would.