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Eye Injuries and Emergencies in Los Angeles

Emergency Eye Care Services Available for Westchester, Marina Del Rey, Playa Del Rey, Culver City, Inglewood, and El Segundo

We depend on our eyes to help us navigate our everyday tasks and responsibilities, as well as to do the things we enjoy. If an injury to the eye occurs, it is important to act fast, act smart, and seek appropriate medical attention to prevent vision loss.

What is an Eye Emergency?

An eye emergency includes any of the following:

  • Small or large foreign objects in the eye
  • Scratches and cuts to the eye
  • Eye exposure to harsh chemicals
  • Burns
  • Blunt trauma to the eyes or eyelid
  • Eye infections
  • Medical conditions affecting the eyes, including glaucoma and blot clots
  • Retinal detachment
  • In some cases, a black eye

Untreated eye injuries and emergencies can result in short- and long-term damage to your sight, including partial vision loss or permanent blindness.

During an Eye Emergency, Should I Go to the Emergency Room or the Eye Doctor?

Although your first instinct during an emergency may be to go to an emergency room, seeking out the medical advice of an eye doctor first is often the best idea.

In fact, studies have shown that many eye-related visits to the emergency rooms could have been treated by an eye doctor.

Optometrists are the experts. They have more extensive training and experience dealing with eye injuries and infections. They can properly diagnose and treat your problem, or when necessary, refer you to an appropriate ophthalmologist.

If you suspect you are experiencing an eye injury or eye emergency…

DO call our optometry practice in Los Angeles (Family Eyecare Center of Optometry) at 310-670-4411 for further instructions! Let us know you are experiencing an eye emergency and we will fit you in our schedule promptly to see Dr. Ashcraft.

Eye Injury Symptoms: When to See Your Eye Doctor

You may experience a range of symptoms when dealing with an eye emergency, depending on what kind of injury you have sustained.

However, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may require immediate medical attention. Reach out to Dr. Ashcraft as soon as possible if you have:

  • Feeling of something in your eye
  • Sudden vision loss or decreased vision in one or both eyes
  • Eye pain
  • Burning, stinging sensation
  • Different sized pupils
  • Bruising around the eye
  • Bleeding in your eye
  • Swelling or bulging eyes
  • Eye moving differently than the other
  • New flashes of light and/or floaters
  • Eye discharge
  • Double vision
  • Severe irritation, redness, or itching

Not all eye symptoms indicate an eye emergency, but they may be indicating that something is not normal. If you are experiencing any of the following, it is still a good idea to have an eye examination from your doctor.

  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Itchy, dry eyes
  • Eye strain
  • Headaches
  • Excessive watery eyes
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Seeing spots

When in doubt about the severity of symptoms you are experiencing, it is better to err on the side of being too cautious and seek medical attention from an eye doctor, just in case.

DO call our optometry practice in Los Angeles (Family Eyecare Center of Optometry) at 310-670-4411 for further instructions! Let us know you are experiencing an eye injury and we will fit you in our schedule to see Dr. Ashcraft

5 Things NOT to Do If You Have an Eye Emergency

Eye injuries can be very serious and lead to permanent eye damage if not treated properly. Unfortunately, some people have made their eye injuries worse in an attempt to help.

If dealing with an eye injury, do not do the following:

  1. DO NOT rub your eyes or apply pressure to your eyes.
  2. DO NOT try to remove any foreign objects that may be stuck in your eye.
  3. DO NOT bring any sharp tools, such as tweezers, close to your eye.
  4. DO NOT apply any eye drops or medications to your eye.
  5. DO NOT try to remove your contact lenses from your eye.
    1. An exception to this rule: You can attempt to remove your contact lenses from your eye if you cannot get quick medical attention, or if you sustained a chemical injury and your contact lenses did not come out after flushing your eyes with water.

DO call our optometry practice in Los Angeles (Family Eyecare Center of Optometry) at 310-670-4411 for further instructions! Let us know you are experiencing an eye emergency and we will fit you in our schedule to see Dr. Ashcraft

7 Ways to Prevent Eye Injuries and Eye Emergencies

Benjamin Franklin famously said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

Eye injuries can affect individuals of any age and they can occur in a variety of settings: at home, at school, at work, at play. Certain activities present a higher risk for sustaining eye injuries. Sometimes, though, injuries occur when it is least expected.

Here are 7 tips to protect your eyes and help prevent eye injuries:

    1. Wear safety glasses. One of the most effective ways to shield your eyes from flying debris, foreign objects, or dangerous substances is to wear protective eyewear. The American Optometric Association recommends wearing eye protection in the workplace when working with projectiles, chemicals, radiation, and bloodborne pathogens from blood and body fluids. Protective glasses should also be used in certain sports, such as tennis or racquetball.
    2. Make your home safe for children: Babies and young kids are known to get into everything. Take extra precautions to keep them safe by keeping sharp objects (knives, scissors, tools, etc.) out of reach, and supervise them when using these items. Put child-safety locks on cabinets containing cleaning products and other chemicals. Remove items from your home that have sharp edges.
    3. Check your kid’s toys: Nerf guns, darts, pellet guns, water balloons, aerosol string, toy swords—all of these toys have the potential to cause serious damage to the eyes if mishandled.
    4. Use caution while cooking: If hot oil or grease splatters and hits you in the eye, it can be very painful and dangerous.
    5. Do not apply eye makeup in a moving vehicle: It only takes one bump or sudden stop for a mascara wand, eyeliner, or makeup brush to make direct contact with your eyes and cause serious damage. Likewise, do not share eye makeup, as harmful bacteria and infections can easily spread.
    6. Stay safe around fireworks: Nothing will ruin your 4th of July faster than a firework accidently exploding in your face. Every year, stories emerge about visits to the emergency department where patients partially lost their vision, or even an eye, due to firework-related accidents. Keep a safe distance from fireworks and wear eye protection.
    7. Be careful around household chemicals: Cleaning supplies and other chemicals in the home should be handled carefully, so as to prevent chemical injuries to the eyes. Follow the instructions given on the packaging. If necessary, wear gloves while handling these products and make sure you do not touch your eyes.

Important Things to Do While Awaiting Medical Attention

Small Foreign Objects in the Eye

We’ve all felt the immediate irritation when something gets into our eyes. Whether it is a particle of sand, an eyelash, dirt, debris, or even a bug, our eyes start to water, they get red, and we have a pestering need to clear it from our eye as quickly as possible.

When something small gets into your eyes, there are a few steps you can take to find relief. Resist the urge to rub your eyes and instead try blinking repeatedly to see if the particle clears. Do an eye rinse using artificial tears or cool water to flush out the object. If that doesn’t work, wash your hands thoroughly before attempting to touch your eye and eyelids to see if you can locate the object.

Contact your eye doctor if you continue to experience eye irritation or if you cannot remove the object.

Besides irritation, small particles in the eye can cause pain, infection, abrasions, and more serious problems.

Large Foreign Objects in the Eye

You must exercise extreme caution if a larger item, such as glass or metal, becomes embedded in your eye. This can result in severe damage to your eye and lead to complete vision loss.

Remember, if a large object is stuck in your eye, do not attempt to remove it.

Do not touch your eye and do not apply pressure to your eye. Both of these actions can cause further damage and pain. Seek medical attention immediately.

Scratches and Cuts to the Eye

If you cut or scratch your eye, also known as corneal abrasions, you should get it checked out by your eye doctor promptly. Avoid applying pressure to your eye.

Exposure to Harsh Chemicals

When the eye comes into contact with solid, liquid, or gas chemicals, it can cause chemical burns. These chemicals can be found in household cleaning supplies, gardening products, and in other industrial environments.

Acting quickly can oftentimes prevent permanent damage to the eye.

If your eyes do come into contact with chemicals, wash your hands thoroughly with soup and water to remove any residual irritant. Flush out your eyes with fresh or saline water for about 15 minutes; doing so in the shower can be acceptable. After flushing out your eyes, try to remove your contact lenses if they are still on the surface of your eye. Seek medical attention.

What Does It Mean If I’m Experiencing Floaters or Flashes of Light?

What Causes Floaters and Flashes of Light?

The inside of the eye is made up of a clear gel, known as vitreous humor, which connects to the retina (the photo-sensing part of the eye that captures images and sends them to the brain).

Floaters most commonly occur when there are changes in this gel. Some people describe it as seeing small specks, dots, clouds, or cobweb-like images that drift across their line of vision. Seeing floaters is common and they often go away on their own.

Flashes of light often occur when the vitreous gel bumps up against or pulls on the retina. It may feel like you are seeing sparks or “stars”, or strands of lightning.

if you are seeing flashes of light or a new onset of floaters is interfering with your vision, it is important to see your eye doctor within 24 hours to check for any problems.

It may indicate a vitreous detachment, where the vitreous separates from the back of the eye. These are more common with age. It can also indicate a very serious condition, a retinal tear or detachment, which can lead to permanent vision loss.

Warning Signs of Retinal Detachment

A retinal detachment occurs when the retina becomes separated from the back wall of the eye. Think of it like wallpaper peeling away from the wall.

Because retinal tears and detachments are usually painless, it is important to know the warning signs. This is an emergency situation. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, call your eye doctor right away:

  • new floaters or flashes of light
  • sudden vision loss, whether a partial decline or total loss
  • feeling of a dark curtain sweeping across your field of vision
  • loss of your side (peripheral) vision

You will need to have an eye exam to dilate your eyes. This is the only way to see if there is a tear or retinal detachment. After your examination your vision will be blurry for a few hours and you will be light sensitive. Bring sunglasses and have someone else drive you to your appointment.


When retinal tears and detachments are addressed quickly, surgery can help prevent permanent vision loss.

DO call our optometry practice in Los Angeles (Family Eyecare Center of Optometry) at 310-670-4411 for further instructions! Let us know you are experiencing an eye emergency and we will fit you in our schedule to see Dr. Ashcraft

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Hi, I’m Dr. Harold Ashcraft, an optometrist in Westchester (Los Angeles), California. I would like to share with you my “Top 10 Tips for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Pink Eye”.