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Home » Richmond Hill Eye Care Services » Eye Emergencies (Pink/Red Eyes)

Eye Emergencies (Pink/Red Eyes)

Red, Pink or Sore Eyes?

We are ready to look after ALL of your eye care needs in one location. In addition to the services you already rely on us for such as routine eye exams, contact lenses. designer frames and eyeglasses - think of your Optometrist first for:

  • sore, red, or itchy eyes
  • treatment of "pink eye" and other bacterial infections
  • removal of foreign bodies from the eye (such as wood or metal)
  • treatment of eye allergies or burns
  • emergency eye care

This is convenient and cost effective for your whole family and you can be sure you are receiving the attention of an eye care specialist.

Eye Emergencies

We are always willing to help, should you ever experience an eye emergency. Our office provides emergency services for eye infections, eye injuries and other eye urgencies.  State of the art equipment allows us to examine the front surface of the eye and also digitally scan inside the eye for infection or damage We accommodate many eye emergencies such as:

  • Eye infections
  • Foreign materials stuck in the eyes
  • Eye trauma
  • Scratched eyes
  • Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Lost or broken contact lenses or eyeglasses
  • Flashes of light in the vision
  • “Floaters” in the vision
  • Red or painful eyes
  • Dislodged contact lenses
  • Uncomfortable, itchy, or irritated eyes

Studies have shown that an overwhelming number of emergency room visits could have been treated by an optometrist. These ranged from foreign bodies to severe eye allergies to eye infections as the most common reasons for emergency room visits. It is not always necessary to go to an emergency room for eye emergencies. Optometrists are equipped to treat the majority of eye emergencies.

We understand the importance of eye care when you encounter symptoms such as those listed above. These are signs that an immediate evaluation or consultation is necessary - please call us to set one up if you are experiencing an eye emergency of any kind.

Foreign Body Removal

A foreign body is something such as an eyelash, sawdust, sand, or dirt can that gets into the eyes. The main symptom is irritation or pain. Depending on what it is and how the injury happened, the foreign body may pierce the eye and cause serious injury or it may simply go away with no long-term problem.

The foreign object may set off an inflammatory cascade, resulting in dilation of the surrounding vessels and subsequent edema of the lids, conjunctiva, and cornea. If not removed, a foreign body can cause infection.

If anything is stuck in your eye for more than a period of a couple of hours, you must immediately cease all attempts to remove it yourself. Keep in mind that the eyes are an extremely delicate organ and any attempts to try anything extra ordinary with them can only have negative and adverse results. If the foreign body you are talking about is not bothering you too much, then you are advised to visit an eye doctor to take care of it. If not you may need to call to emergency service of your region.

If there is a foreign body in your eye, such as a piece of grit, your eye doctor may try and remove it. They will put anaesthetic eye drops in your eye first, in order to numb it and prevent any pain.

If the foreign body is easy to get to, it may be possible to remove it by simply rinsing your eye with water, or by wiping it away with a cotton wool bud or triangle of card. However, if this is unsuccessful, your eye doctor may try and remove the foreign body by lifting it out with the tip of a small metal instrument.

The foreign body could be stuck underneath your upper eyelid, especially if you can feel something there, or you have scratches or grazes (abrasions) on the top half of the transparent outer layer of your eye (cornea). If this is the case, it may be necessary to gently turn your eyelid inside out in order to remove the foreign body.

Once the anaesthetic eye drops have worn off, your eye may feel a bit uncomfortable until your abrasion heals.

Whatever is happening with your eyes or if you suffer or even suspect that a foreign body has penetrated the outer eye layer better go without delay to the nearest treatment center. Doing nothing can lead to loss of vision, premature cataracts and damage to the retina so do not take any chances, delay is dangerous.

We also treat other common eye conditions, such as astigmatism.

Eye Emergencies Q&A

Eye infections:

  • What is an eye infection?

Eye infections can develop due to the presence of bacteria, fungi, or viruses, which can affect one or both eyes. Signs that you may have an eye infection include redness, swelling, itching, pain, discharge, or vision problems. It is best to be seen as soon as signs and symptoms arise in order to provide the best and fastest treatment options

  • What should I do if I spill chemicals in my eye?

Wash your hands then open your eyes to rinse them with water for a recommended time of 15 minutes. If there are contacts in your eye, attempt to remove them.

  • What should I do if I get sand, metal, or wood, in my eyes?

Sand: Do not rub your eyes, as this can further damage the eye and will not remove the sand. Flush your eyes with water or saline for several minutes to remove sand particles. See your Optometrist for additional treatment options.

Metal: Attention from your Optometrist is necessary as metal can rust if it stays in the eyes and it needs to be removed as soon as possible.

Wood: if the wood chip is larger than a speck, attention from an eye specialist is necessary. Attempt to rise out the chip using saline or water and allow natural tears to clear the eye.

*Always remember If irritation persists, see your eye doctor!

  • I am seeing spots or floating colors suddenly. What should I do?

Spots or flashing lights could be a symptom of posterior vitreous detachment or a retinal tear/detachment. Although posterior vitreous detachment does not require treatment, retinal tears and detachments need to be diagnosed immediately and treated with laser or surgery. If you are concerned, the best option is to consult your eye-care specialist and have a dilated eye exam. Likewise, if you are experiencing glare or halo vision around lights, you should schedule an emergency appointment.

  • Are eye infections dangerous?

Minor eye infections, if left untreated or are mistreated, can become major eye infections. To prevent the infection from worsening, consult you Optometrist for diagnosis and treatment. Some infections, such as conjunctivitis, are contagious while other infections are not.

  • Can my child go to school with an eye infection?

Some eye infections are extremely contagious, such as conjunctivitis (pink eye). If this is the case, it would be unadvisable for your child to continue going to school until the infection has cleared completely.

Foreign Body Removal

  • I have sand stuck in my eye, is it dangerous?

It is impossible to assess the severity of the situation without proper evaluation by an eye-care professional. If you are able to see the foreign body in the eye, do not attempt to remove the object and seek professional help instead.

  • I have something stuck in my eye, how should I remove it?

Do not attempt to remove anything from your eye on your own, nor with the help of others, as doing so may result in more damage to other structures involving the eye. You may attempt to flush the eye with water or sterile eyewash, without the use of a cotton swab or tissue. Most importantly, seek help from an eye-care professional.

  • I feel like I have dirt in my eye when I wear contact lenses, is that dangerous?

The sensation of dirt in the eye is generally indicative of improper contact lens usage or overuse. Individuals with dry eye will also experience discomfort when wearing contacts, especially if worn consecutively for a long duration. It is advised that you discontinue contact lens wear and contact your Optometrist to determine proper treatment of preventative measures, as prolonged discomfort when wearing contact lenses may lead to Keratisis, also known as the inflammation of the cornea, which can cause pain, blurred vision and redness.

  • I spilled a chemical in my eye, what should I do?

It is imperative that you rinse the affected eye(s) with water immediately, and continually, for a minimum of 10-15 minutes. Both eyelids should remain open while rinsing to complete flush the eye. Once the eye has been thoroughly rinsed, the patient should seek immediate care. If possible, the chemical compound, chemical label or MSDS should be brought to help the doctor determine the proper treatment.

  • I spilled some chemical in my eye, should I remove my contacts or leave them in?

Begin by rinsing your eyes. If your contacts do not come out in the act of rinsing your eyes, you should attempt to remove your contact lenses in order to thoroughly rinse the eyes of any remaining chemicals.


  • My child scratched my eye…what should I do?

If you were wearing contact lenses at the time of the abrasion, do not attempt to remove the contact lenses or treat the eye using eye drops. If irritation persists, seek help from an Optometrist.

  • Is a scratch on the eye dangerous?

Minor scratches will generally heal on their own within two to four hours. However, if you are experiencing significant pain, a foreign-body sensation, photophobia, increased tearing or decreased vision, it is advised to book an appointment within 24 hours in order to ease pain, prevent infection and ensure proper healing. It is also possible that the foreign-body object which caused the abrasion remained on the eye or gone through the eye, this requires immediate attention.


  • I got hit in the eye with a baseball, is that dangerous for my vision?

Blunt trauma to the eye, including sports-related injuries, assault, automobile accidents, projectiles and job-related injuries, can result in damage to multiple parts of the eye. Some concerns include bruising of the eyelids, internal bleeding, retinal damage, and a ruptured globe. For this reason, you should receive a comprehensive eye exam on the same day as the injury was inflicted, especially if you are experiencing symptoms such as eye pain, blurry vision, double vision or numbness on the side of the face affected.

  • Should I visit an eye doctor if I got a black eye?

Most black eyes are minor injuries ,however, an eye doctor can check for significant damage to the eye if you are experiencing severe and persistent pain or swelling, or if there is swelling around the eye unrelated to the injury.

  • I have pain in my eye after getting a black eye, should I visit the emergency room or an eye doctor?

If you experience a change or loss of vision, blood inside your eye, fluid leaking from your eye, bleeding from your nose or ears, or an eye that cannot look in more than one direction, visit the emergency room immediately. Otherwise, you may want to visit an eye doctor to ensure that you have not sustained any significant damage to the eye.


  • My toddler is complaining that his eye hurts, should I make an appointment with the Optometrist?
  • My child came home from school saying that his eye hurts, what should I do?

Note the physical appearance of the eye and ask where the pain is and how painful it is as a point of reference for the Optometrist. The next step is to make an appointment with your Optometrist to determine the cause of the pain and the treatment options.

  • My child’s eye looks very red, what should I do?

Red eye is rarely an emergency and will generally heal by itself. However, if your child is also experiencing discharge, itching, pain, or nausea, they may require immediate attention. An eye-care professional should be consulted as soon as possible.

  • My child has a weird bump in his eye, should I make an appointment?

A bump on the eyelid may be the result of bacteria in a hair follicle of an eyelash causing infection, resulting in a stye. Styes will commonly go away without specific treatment within a few days or weeks, but if symptoms such as redness, pain and swelling persist, you should make an appointment with your Optometrist.

Severe Emergencies

  • I just lost my vision in one eye, should I visit the emergency room?

Acute vision loss is an emergency and requires immediate attention. Causes for a sudden loss of vision include several sight-threatening or even life-threatening conditions, such as damage to the retina, vitreous hemorrhages, stroke, or brain tumours. Although the vision loss may last anywhere from a few seconds to a few hours, it could potentially become permanent without proper treatment.

  • My eye is bleeding what should I do?

If you have discharge, itching, pain, photophobia or nausea, you may require immediate attention. An eye-care professional should be consulted as soon as possible.

  • I am seeing double, should I go to the eye doctor?

Double vision should be checked by an eye-care professional. If you have double vision check to see which eye is seeing double, one or both. Also try and differentiate between seeing double versus if you are seeing a shadow around things. Does the double vision clear up with blink or does it persis. These details are needed when you seek care from your Optometrist.

  • I have severe pain in my eye, what do I do?

There are a few home remedies for reducing eye pain, such as placing a warm towel on the eye and rinsing the eye with water if the pain is caused by debris in the eye. However, if the pain is continuous, does not decrease, or you want a proper diagnosis and treatment, it is best to book an appointment with your Optometrist. It is important to give the eyes some rest during this time. Preventative measures include wearing protective eyewear or goggles when working outdoors or with tools.

  • I feel a lot of pressure behind my eye, what should I do?

The pressure may be due to a sinus infection, headaches or optic nerve damage among others. Your optometrist can determine the cause of the pressure and decide on a suitable treatment accordingly.