An eye emergency is an event where eyesight is at risk. Events that risk eyesight require prompt treatment to prevent vision loss. Contact the North Iowa Eye Clinic immediately (641-423-8861). If the ophthalmologist is not immediately available to assist or direct you, you may call the Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa operator at 641-428-7000 and ask to speak to the ophthalmologist on-call for further direction. If you feel that you have an urgent problem that requires immediate attention, you may call 911 or proceed to an emergency department.
If you live in north Iowa, you may come to the Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa, Emergency Department located at 1000 4th Street S.W. Mason City, Iowa (www.mercynorthiowa.com). We cannot offer specific medical advice through this website but we will make the general following recommendations:
If you get an acidic or caustic chemical in your eye (e.g., chemical burn), please stop reading this and irrigate your eye with clean contact lens solution, if none is available, you may use clean tap water. Do this for 15 minutes, and then go directly to the nearest emergency room.
If you mechanically injure your eye or something gets in your eye, DO NOT push on your eye. DO cover your eye with a rigid shield, if one is available. However, do not put anything under the shield that would press on your eye. A rigid shield can be fashioned from the bottom of a paper cup. Alternatively, put your glasses or sunglasses on, which will also provide protection.
For minor or less urgent injuries, contacting the North Iowa Eye Clinic directly (641-423-8861) is often the wisest choice. Remember that eye care is a very specialized field that requires special equipment: the direct approach is the wisest, quickest and, often, least expensive option.
The following symptoms require immediate consultation with a North Iowa Eye Clinic provider:
- Chemical contact with eye or face
- Severe eye, head or face injury
- Sudden loss of all or part of your vision
- Bulging eye
- Painful eye
- Onset of flashing lights, floaters, or a noticeable increase in the amount of flashes and floaters
- Appearance of a “veil”, or curtain across the field of vision
- Sudden changes in pupil size
- Eye that is sensitive to light
- Foreign body in the eye
- Double vision
- Post-operative patients with pain in or around the eye, infectious discharge, increased redness, or decreased vision (in either eye)
The following symptoms require contacting the North Iowa Eye Clinic as soon as possible:
- Red eye
- Sensation of a foreign body present
- Excessive tearing
- Presence of pus or crusting