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Eye Emergencies (Pink/Red Eyes)

Woman Something in Eye emergency

Providing Emergency Eye Care Services in El Cerrito

Eye emergencies can occur unexpectedly, so knowing what to do is crucial if you or a loved one requires urgent eye care.

First and foremost, remain calm. Staying composed will not only help you think clearly but will also assist others in staying calm.

Secondly, never attempt to assess the severity of an eye injury on your own. Instead, contact your eye doctor for guidance on what steps to take in your situation. At West County Optometry in El Cerrito, we understand ocular emergencies and are available to assist you at any time.

Visiting an emergency room for eye emergencies is not always necessary. Research has shown that the majority of patients who sought urgent eye care at an emergency room could have been treated by an optometrist.

However, use your own judgment. If you believe that you need to go to the nearest emergency room, do not delay.

What is an Eye Emergency?

An eye emergency refers to anything that poses a risk of permanent damage to your eyes or vision.

The most common types of eye emergencies include:

  • Eye infection
  • Foreign object stuck in the eye
  • Eye trauma
  • Scratch on the eye
  • Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Lost contact lens in the eye
  • Shattered eyeglass lenses
  • Sudden appearance of light flashes or floaters

Is an Eye Infection an Emergency?

While an eye infection like conjunctivitis (pink eye) usually does not require emergency eye care, it is important to see your eye doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment if you suspect you have an eye infection.

Symptoms That Require Emergency Eye Care

  • Sudden loss of vision
  • Sudden double vision
  • Sudden eye pain
  • New onset of light flashes and/or floaters
  • Foreign body in the eye
  • Chemicals in the eye
  • Swelling or pain after eye surgery

What to Do if Something Gets Into Your Eye?

A foreign object can range from an eyelash or speck of sand to a metal shard, blade of grass, or piece of wood. Regardless of the object, it must be promptly removed to reduce the risk of serious injury or infection.

Keep in mind that the eyes are extremely delicate, and if you are unsure how to remove the foreign object safely, you may end up with sight-threatening complications. Therefore, it is always best to seek urgent eye care if you are unable to flush out the foreign object with water or saline solution.

If you suspect that a foreign object has penetrated your eye or notice any blood or discharge from your eye, contact your eye doctor immediately. After explaining what occurred, your eye doctor may advise you to go to an emergency room.

What To Do If You Have an Eye Emergency?

Contact West County Optometry in El Cerrito for an emergency eye care appointment. If you’re unsure whether your symptoms qualify as an emergency, call us anyway — delaying treatment can put you at risk of serious complications that can result in vision loss.

Until you see your eye doctor or seek urgent care:

  • Avoid pressing on or rubbing an injured eye
  • Refrain from removing a foreign body on your own
  • Do not use dry cotton (including cotton swabs) or sharp instruments (such as tweezers) on the eye
  • Don’t attempt to remove an embedded object

Call our office in El Cerrito for further instructions. We are here to help you!


Welcome El Cerrito Optometry patients! We looking forward to serving all your eye health and vision needs!