When to Seek Medical Help for an Eye Problem
Some eye problems you can take care of yourself, but it's important to know how to do it and when to seek medical help.
Dec 14, 2016Menopause & Aging Well
Sheryl Kraft, a freelance writer and breast cancer survivor, was born in Long Beach, New York. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband Alan and dog Chloe, where her nest is empty of her two sons Jonathan. Sheryl writes articles and essays on breast cancer and contributes to a variety of publications and websites where she writes on general health and wellness issues. She earned her MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.Full Bio
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Recently, my colleague Marcia wrote about a frightening experience she had with a retinal tear. Fortunately, she was able to see her ophthalmologist and receive emergency laser treatment to stave off an impending detachment. Her story had a happy ending, because she was proactive and didn't take a wait-and-see attitude.
That led me to think about other eye problems that we experience and the impact they may have on our vision—and when we should take prompt action. Just as Marcia had an eye emergency and paid attention to her symptoms and what they could mean, we all should be aware of how important it is to protect our eyes and get proper treatment to avoid pain and the potential of permanent vision loss.
Of course, all eye injuries are not preventable, but some may be. It's important to wear protective eye gear when you're working with power tools or hammers, as well as when you're around toxic chemicals. If you're out gardening, like so many of us are this time of year, it pays to be especially careful to protect your eyes, because the wind can kick up the soil or the chemicals you might be using.
If you're cycling in areas that are windy and dusty, it's wise to wear a good, sturdy pair of glasses or sunglasses (wraparounds are even better).
Sometimes, you can try to treat certain problems yourself, but it's important to know how. Click here to learn about what to do if a small object gets stuck in your eye; if you get chemicals in your eye; if you suffer a cut, scratch or blow to your eye or a cut to your eyelid.
Although you may be able to help yourself or another person in certain instances, it's important to know what NOT to do. Do NOT:
When to Get Outside Help
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should contact your doctor or get help at an emergency room or urgent care center immediately:
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