Symptoms of Eye Emergencies

During the pandemic, the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have mandated that your eye doctor limit practice to those patients with eye emergencies or urgencies. Elective surgery has been postponed.

There are several warning signs or symptoms which should alert you to call your eye doctor.

Pain

Eye pain can be caused by a corneal abrasion, inflammation or advanced glaucoma.

Corneal abrasions may also be associated with tearing, redness and blurry vision. The corneal is ultra sensitive and even a slight abrasion can be painful. The corneal surface allows for about 2/3 of the total focusing power of the eye. If the surface becomes abraded, blurred vision is common.

Inflammation, such as iritis, causes pain, redness, sensitivity to light and blurry vision. Advanced glaucoma can lead to uncontrolled eye pressure causing pain, redness, tearing, nausea and decreased vision.

Eye pain associated with redness should prompt a call to your doctor. Almost any and every “eye related” cause of eye pain involves redness.

Sudden Decreased Vision

Sudden decreased or vision loss can be an emergency.

Most retinal diseases can cause sudden and painless vision loss, such as:

While there are other causes, I’m listing the common causes of acute vision loss from retinal diseases.

Sudden Distortion

Distortion is usually caused by a macular problem.

While distortion is a common complaint in patients with macular holes or epiretinal membranes, the onset is usually gradual and not acute.

Acute distortion can be from macular edema (swelling) from an retinal vascular occlusion or leakage/bleeding from wet macular degeneration. Sometimes a retinal detachment can cause distortion, but this is usually associated with complaints of loss of peripheral vision.

Exacerbation of wet macular degeneration is certainly an emergency and may require prompt treatment with anti-VEGF medications.

If you are experiencing pain, loss of vision or new distortion, make sure to call your eye doctor or retina specialist.

If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call us (877) 245.2020.

Nader Moinfar, M.D., M.P.H.
Retina Specialist
Orlando, FL

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