Most of us are not aware of what types of symptoms represent a true emergency, but it is dangerous to ignore any changes in your eyesight, or to attribute them to some other cause. Delaying treatment in the hope that a condition will resolve itself could result in severe vision loss. If you should experience any of the following symptoms, call Dr. Friedmann right away at (250) 595-1157 and our office will ensure you are seen as soon as possible.
Please note that most emergency exams are covered by Medical Services Plan for patients with a valid BC Services Card.
Sudden Loss of Vision
A complete or partial loss of vision in one or both eyes could be caused by several eye diseases, including but not limited to retinal detachment, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.
Flashes of Light
Typically taking the appearance of small lightning bolts flashes in your peripheral vision, light flashes can occur spontaneously or as the result of a physical trauma. Flashes of light could be a sign of a retinal detachment, in which case the time factor becomes very important. Consult an optometrist immediately.
“Floaters” are often perceived by those afflicted as cobwebs or bugs moving across the eye. These spots move as the eye moves. Most of us experience floating spots occasionally, as they are a common condition that is caused by normal degeneration of the vitreous. However, if several floaters make a sudden appearance, especially in one eye, that vitreous – or worse, the retina – may be detaching.
The sudden onset of double vision is an urgent and potentially dangerous symptom which should be evaluated right away by a trained optometrist. If you experience double vision, take a moment to determine whether it occurs binocularly (both eyes open) or monocularly (one eye open). Binocular double vision usually is an indication of a muscle condition, which may be attributable to diabetes or trauma. Monocular double vision is typically an indication of either complications of systemic disease or the presence of cataracts.
Sharp pains in the eye can be related to a number of different ocular problems and should be evaluated promptly.
Detail List of Ocular Emergencies
The Emergent or Immediate Case
Needs to be seen within the hour and the exam is covered completely by the BC Health Plan for patients with a valid BC Services Card. Come immediately into the office or go to the hospital Emergency Room, or call 911 if you have any of the following:
- Chemical burn or chemical-splashed eye
- Sudden onset eye pain
- Sudden loss of vision
- Eye bleeding
The Urgent Case
Needs to be seen in the same day and the exam is covered completely by the BC Health Plan for patients with a valid BC Services Card.
- Sticky eye or discharge
- Flashes or floaters (sudden onset/new)
- Foreign body in eye
- Corneal abrasion or scratch
- Trauma to eye
- Sudden vision loss – blackout of vision or grey or red spots
- Post-surgery problem – cataract, laser
- Welding/ARC flash
- Red eye
- Swollen lids
- Solar burn
- Shingles involving eyelids and nose – Herpes Zoster
- Face Palsy – face muscles will not move, tingling of face
- Unequal pupil size (sudden onset)
- Sore bump on eyelid
- Double vision (sudden onset)
- Drooping lids
- Halos around lights and/or objects
- Photophobia – unusual light sensitivity
- Persisent dilation of the pupils
The Priority Case
Needs to be seen within days and the exam may be covered by the BC Health Plan for patients with a valid BC Services Card.
- Slow onset bluring of vision
- Seasonal allergy complaints – itchy, watery
- Red eyes associated with contact lens wear
- Lost contact lens or glasses
- Headaches and associated symptoms