7 Common Eye Injuries

Some common eye injuries, such as deep puncture wounds from accidents, could require immediate treatment or surgery to prevent permanent eye damage or vision loss. If you’re worried that you have injured your eye, visit an eye doctor near you.

Minor surface scratches, on the other hand, may need only simple monitoring after an initial visit to the eye doctor to make sure complications such as eye infections don’t occur.

This guide to common eye injuries can help you determine your next step following an accident, especially if you are in an emergency situation. Safety precautions such as wearing safety goggles or glasses may be your best approach to preventing eye injuries altogether and maintaining healthy vision for a lifetime.

Common conditions associated with eye injury and trauma include:

Scratched Eye (Corneal Abrasion)
Common causes of abrasions to the eye’s surface (corneal abrasions) are getting poked in the eye or rubbing the eye when a foreign body is present, such as dust or sand. Corneal abrasions are very uncomfortable and cause eye redness and severe sensitivity to light.

If you know something has scratched your eye, it’s very important to see your eye doctor or an emergency room/urgent care center to seek treatment for your eye injury.

Scratches also can make your eye susceptible to infection from bacteria or a fungus. Certain types of bacteria and fungi can enter the eye through a scratch and cause serious harm in as little as 24 hours. Even blindness can result. This is especially true if whatever scratched your eye is dirty or contaminated.

Remember also that infections from eye injuries such as scratches can originate from unexpected sources such as a baby’s fingernails or tree branches.

If you have a scratched eye, don’t rub it and don’t patch it. Bacteria like dark, warm places to grow, and a patch might provide the ideal environment. Simply keep the eye closed or loosely tape a paper cup or eye shield over it until you can see your eye doctor.

Penetrating or Foreign Objects in The Eye
If a foreign object such as metal or a fish hook penetrates your eye, visit the emergency room/urgent care center right away. You could cause even more injury to your eye if you attempt to remove the object yourself or if you rub your eye.

If possible, try loosely taping a paper cup or eye shield over your eye for protection; then seek help.

Your eye also may have corneal foreign bodies that are small, sharp pieces of a substance (usually metal) that have become embedded in the eye’s surface (cornea), but have not penetrated into the interior of the eye.

Metal foreign bodies can quickly form a rust ring and a significant scar. Your eye doctor should remove these foreign bodies as soon as possible.

Caustic Foreign Substance in The Eye (Chemical Burn)
Getting unexpectedly splashed or sprayed in the eye by substances other than clean, harmless water can be scary. Some substances burn or sting but are fairly harmless in the long run, while others can cause serious injury. The basic makeup of the chemical involved can make a lot of difference, such as:

Acid: As a general rule, acids can cause considerable redness and burning but can be washed out fairly easily.
Alkali: Substances or chemicals that are basic (alkali) are much more serious but may not seem so because they don’t cause as much immediate eye pain or redness as acids. Some examples of alkali substances are oven cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners and even chalk dust.

Chemical exposures and burns are usually caused by a splash of liquid getting in your eye. But they can be caused in other ways as well, such as by rubbing your eyes and transferring a chemical from your hands to your eyes or by getting sprayed in the eye by hair spray or other aerosols.

If you’re splashed in the eye, put your head under a steady stream of barely warm tap water for about 15 minutes. Just let it run into your eye and down your face.

Then contact your eye doctor to see what is recommended for your eye injury. Tell the person on the phone exactly what kind of substance got into your eye and what you’ve done about it so far.

If you know your eye is at risk because it’s extraordinarily red or blurry, then go immediately to your eye doctor or an emergency room after you’ve rinsed it with water. You can put a cool, moist compress or an ice pack on your eye, but don’t rub it.

Depending on the substance, the effects of chemical exposures causing eye injuries can range from minor irritation and red eyes to serious eye damage and even blindness.

Eye Swelling and/or Black Eye
Eye swelling and puffy, swollen eyelids can result from being struck in the eye such as from a baseball moving at a high speed.

The best immediate treatment for this type of eye injury is an ice pack. You may have a simple black eye (bruising around the eye), but you should see an eye doctor to make sure there’s no internal damage.

Subconjunctival Hemorrhages (Eye Bleeding)
This eye injury usually looks worse than it really is. A subconjunctival hemorrhage involves leakage of blood from one or more breaks in a blood vessel that lies between the white of the eye (sclera) and its clear covering (conjunctiva).

Subconjunctival hemorrhages are quite common and can occur from even minor injury to the eye. They may be limited to a small sector of the eye, or they can extend over the entire eye, making the white sclera appear bright red.

A subconjunctival hemorrhage is painless and does not cause vision loss. No treatment is required. Over the course of several weeks, the blood will clear and the eye will return to a normal appearance.

Traumatic Iritis
Traumatic iritis is inflammation of the colored part of the eye that surrounds the pupil (iris) and occurs after an eye injury. Traumatic iritis can be caused by a poke in the eye or a blow to the eye from a blunt object, such as a ball or a hand.

Traumatic iritis usually requires treatment. Even with medical treatment, there is a risk of permanent decreased vision.

Hyphemas and Orbital Blowout Fractures
A hyphema (high-FEE-mah) is bleeding in the anterior chamber of the eye, the space between the cornea and the iris. Orbital blowout fractures are cracks or breaks in the facial bones surrounding the eye.

Hyphemas and blowout fractures are serious eye injuries and medical emergencies. They are caused by significant blunt force trauma to the eye and face, such as getting hit by a bat, baseball, hockey stick or puck, or getting kicked in the face.

Steps To Take In Case Of Eye Injury
If you have any eye injury, contact your eye care practitioner immediately for advice. If your eye care practitioner is not available, go to the nearest emergency medical facility.

Once you are in the care of a doctor, be sure to mention if you wear contact lenses so you can be advised whether to leave them in or remove them.

Depending on the type of eye injury, the doctor may want you to flush your eye with water or saline solution. In more serious situations, you may need surgery.

Treat all eye injuries as potential emergencies, and never hesitate to contact or see an eye doctor immediately. Don’t take risks with your eyesight. Remember, you have only one pair of eyes.

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tips to combat eye allergiesSpring and fall are beautiful seasons, but not so much if you are an allergy sufferer. The same irritants that cause sneezing and a runny nose among seasonal allergy sufferers also contribute to eye allergies – red, itchy, and watery eyes.

The Canadian Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Foundation estimates that 20-25% of Canadians have allergic rhinitis (also referred to as “hay fever”).

If you think you have eye allergies, we have a few helpful tips on how to get relief from your red, itchy, watery eyes.

Tips for Eye Allergy Relief

  1. See your optometrist early: Consider timing your annual eye examination before allergy season begins to learn about personalized ways to reduce your exposure and sensitivity.
  2. Avoid allergens: Easier said than done, but the best approach to controlling allergy symptoms is to limit your exposure to allergens that affect you. Stay indoors when you can, and use high quality furnace filters to trap common allergens. When you do go outdoors, wraparound sunglasses can help shield your eyes from certain allergens, and driving with your windows closed also helps.
  3. Remove your contact lenses: The surface of contact lenses can accumulate airborne allergens, so consider switching to daily disposable contact lenses or opt to wear your eyeglasses as often as possible during allergy season.
  4. Don’t rub your eyes: Rubbing your eyes releases more histamine and could worsen your allergy symptoms.
  5. Try artificial tears: Artificial tears can wash airborne allergens from your eyes. Your eye doctor can tell you which brands of artificial tears might work best for you.
  6. Wash your face: Shower before bedtime or otherwise gently clean your eyelids to remove any allergens that could cause irritation while you sleep.
  7. Consider an air purifier: Purchasing an air purifier, particularly as the cold winter months approach, is an effective way to trap the allergens in the home environment where you probably spend a significant amount of time.

The best care is personalized care, so make an appointment to see your optometrist and discover the strategies that could work for you!

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children eyewear back to school

The flurry of activity known as September has come and is almost gone, with another school year underway.

We’re in the early stages of a ten month journey to remember to pack a lunch, make sure the homework is done and the agenda has been signed, and a million other little tasks that are part of the great adventure our kids take part in called “school”.

For many children, the daily routine includes remembering to bring and wear glasses, to correct or prevent vision problems.

Thankfully, attitudes have changed.  Today, wearing glasses doesn’t mean your children will be called “four eyes”. For the most part, they’re just another fashion accessory. Some kids, however, are reluctant to wear their glasses in social situations like school (where they’re needed most).  Here are some things you can do to make it easier for them:

Allow them to choose their own glasses.
Children’s eyeglass styles have come a long way in the last decade or so.  There are as many options for children as there are for adults – maybe more, with special licensed merchandise featuring characters from TV, movies, and comic books. Kids are more likely to enjoy wearing glasses that they feel reflect something about themselves.

Make sure they fit, and the prescription is correct.
Children’s faces can grow quickly, and in fact their eyes may change without much notice.  Keep their glasses from becoming uncomfortable by having them adjusted regularly as they grow, and ensure that their prescription is meeting their needs. An optometrist can help with both.

Keep Calm – They’ll Get It
In the grand scheme of things, forgetting their glasses once or twice isn’t going to hamper their overall development. If you feel anxious about their glasses, chances are that they will too.

To book your child’s consultation with Nowlan and Moore today, fill out our appointment form.

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Perhaps you’ve heard the term “blue light”, but aren’t sure if it affects you or not. There are definitely some misconceptions about blue light, where it’s found and the potentially harmful effects, so hopefully this post can help to shed some ‘light’ on the situation.

Where is blue light found?
Blue light is everywhere. Smartphones and other digital devices have been targeted as the main blue light culprits, but the truth is, sunlight is the main source of blue light. Being outdoors during daylight is where most of us get the majority of our blue light exposure. There are also many man-made, indoor sources of blue light, such as fluorescent and LED lighting and flat-screen televisions.

Of course, the screens of computers, tablets, smartphones and other digital devices emit significant amounts of blue light, but the amount of high-energy visible (HEV) light that they emit is only a fraction of that emitted by the sun. What is troubling to many optometrists and other eyecare professionals is the amount of time people spend using the devices and the proximity of the screen to the user’s face. The possible long-term effects of blue light on eye health are largely unknown.

What does blue light do to your eyes?
What we do know, is that all blue light is not bad. There is a particular range of blue light that is essential to our vision, the function of our pupillary reflex, and to human health in general. It also helps to regulate our circadian sleep/wake cycle.

We also know that blue light contributes to digital eye strain, and too much exposure can damage light-sensitive cells in the retina, leading to retina changes that resemble those of macular degeneration.

Clearly, more research is needed to determine how much natural and man-made blue light is “too much blue light” for the retina.

In the meantime, if you are a person who has significant exposure to blue light in the form of white LED or fluorescent light bulbs in offices and homes, are a frequent user of LED computer monitors, tablets or smartphones, or are already at high risk of macular degeneration due to family history or lifestyle, computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses may increase comfort and protection.

Ask your optometrist about which type of vision correction and lens features best suit your needs.

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Carpenters use hammers all day. A construction professional likely has an array of expensive and specialized hammers, while a “weekend warrior” who builds the occasional picnic table or deck box at home has one or two, generally “multipurpose” tools that will serve his or her purposes just fine. The professional needs a hammer that’s tailored precisely to the needs of the job.

Likewise, people who spend a lot of time using computers need tools that are specially made to reduce the effects of their jobs on their eyes. Computer glasses are tools that people who spend a lot of time in front of screens use to work more effectively, and minimize the impact of Computer Vision Syndrome on their eyes.
Contact lens users may find that their eyes become dry when they are using computer screens. This is because we tend to blink less frequently during computer use.

They’re not really recommended for prolonged wearing when using a computer screen.

Single vision glasses are generally either for close up “reading” distances, or distant “driving” distances. Computer screens are generally placed somewhere in between, which means that neither of the most popular focal lengths is correct. While they’ll work “in a pinch”, they become uncomfortable over time.

Bifocals, or Progressive lenses are designed as a compromise between the two, but again they won’t work optimally for most computer users.

See your optometrist, and get a set of purpose-made glasses that address the needs of your workplace. Consider application of a special anti reflective coating, and use these glasses only for computer work – they won’t be appropriate for reading or driving.

Your optometrist will be familiar with “computer glasses”, and will be able to help you find the best way to avoid the unpleasant effects of Computer Vision Syndrome.

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People spend approximately 9 hours per day either on a computer, laptop, mobile device, tablet device, or e-reader device. That is just the average and the more time we spend on those devices, the more strain it puts on our eyes and the more susceptible it makes us to Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).

Reading a book is completely different than reading on a digital screen. The main reason is either the definition and contrast of the letters, the background, and glare or reflection off the screen. Let’s also not forget to include the ergonomics of the situation. Oh, and if there are vision issues already present, even the most minor of vision issues can attribute to CVS.

So it begs the questions, what are the symptoms? Are there any tips to preventing CVS? How can I treat these symptoms? Continue reading

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At Nowlan and Moore Optometric we can help treat Computer Vision Syndrome. We know computer screens are everywhere yet as an industry, Opticians everywhere are still learning about what the specific health effects are for spending prolonged periods of time in front of them are. Continue reading

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In my years working as a Winnipeg optometrist, I have seen an increase in the number of patients complaining of issues relating directly to eye strain. Why is that? Because we are a computer-centric world, and that means that Optometrist’s will have to consider this when assessing patient’s eye health.

It also means that, as an optometrist, I will have to make you well aware of the things you are doing that cause eyestrain and all of the related symptoms.

Consider that it is not only the computer use to blame, but it’s the entire environment around it. The chair, desk, and even the amount of time that you use your eyes to do work on a screen. So, let me share some of the things you might be doing to bring about your eye strain or other symptoms:

  • The screen itself - Are you still using a computer monitor as opposed to a higher resolution, flat panel display? If your home or office computer still looks like a bulky old TV set, trust this Winnipeg eye doctor and get an upgrade. It will not fatigue your eyes as an old monitor will.
  • The glasses - Do you have your favourite designer eyewear on at work? While the frames are attractive, maybe the lenses are out of date? Get new lenses and get rid of eye strain.
  • The position - Three of the seven things relate to your position from the computer. If you are sitting closer than 20 inches from the screen, you are actually causing strain. If you are too far, you could be “turtling” (Beebe). This is stretching the neck, tilting up the chin and holding an awkward angle just to get a better view. Finally, your chair may be part of the problem. Make sure it supports you and keeps you in a good position.
  • The lighting – Too much light from above can cause eye strain. Make sure that the light is no brighter than the display.
  • The timing – Use the 20-20 rule – twenty minutes of work followed by a twenty second break looking away from the screen.

These are seven issues that may cause eye strain. Try to be aware of them and many of the symptoms will disappear.

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Diabetes can seriously affect your visual system, but early signs of diabetes can be first detected in a Comprehensive Eye Exam performed by an Optometrist.

Diabetes can cause nearsightedness, farsightedness, and an inability to focus on objects that are close. Diabetes can result in cataracts, glaucoma, decreased corneal sensitivity, and paralysis of the nerves that control the pupil and the eye muscles. Diabetes can fluctuate or blur your vision, cause periodic double vision, and you can lose your visual field. The most serious visual problem associated diabetes is diabetic retinopathy.

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Regularly scheduled Comprehensive Eye Exams should be part of everyone’s preventative healthcare routine because eye exams can help detect eye diseases and conditions that could affect your overall health.

“Comprehensive eye exams can serve as early detectors for a number of potentially serious health conditions, ranging from diabetes and high blood pressure to certain forms of cancer,”  Dr. Barry Thienes, President of the Canadian Association of Optometrists.

The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommend bi-annual eye exams for adults and annually for those over 65. A child’s first eye exam should take place between six to nine months of age, then before they turn five, and annually while they are in school. Continue reading

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