Eye injuries can occur at any time. Our office is equiped to handle most eye injuries. The primary instrument we use is a biomicroscope, sometimes referred to as a slit lamp. The biomicroscope has a high magnification and is particularly designed to aid us in evaluating the extent of an eye injury. Whether it is a laceration, foreign particle embedded or a burn, the biomicroscope is the primary tool to carefully examination the injury.
Embedded Foreign Bodies
A common injury is a hot iron metalic foreign body embedded in the cornea. Grinding or drilling in iron or other metals will release particles that are hot and when they hit the eye they embed themselves in the cornea. If it is iron, as in this example, it will immediatley begin to rust due to the salty consistency of our tears. When the metal particle is removed, there is a remaining rust deposit that has infiltrated the surrounding cornea. We have experience at removing these rust spots. With proper medical treatment these injuries resolve well.
If the foreign particle was embedded in the central visual axis of the cornea, there may be a scar remaining which could effect the patients ultimate visual acuity. Safety glasses are always recommended to prevent these type of injuries.
Contusions, otherwise referred to as a "black eye" can result in more than just the obvious bruises on the face. The retina is the nerve tissue that senses light which lines the back of the eye. There is a blood vessel layer under the retina. This is very delicate and sensitive tissue.
A compression type of injury can knock the retina loose and cause bleeding underneath. These examples show both retinal hemorrhage and retinal detachment. Both can result in blindness to the effected eye. Immediate examination and subsequent treatment is needed in these type of injuries.
Emergency Eye Care
If you have symptoms of "Flashes of Light" in your vision, when there is no light to explain the flashes, this could mean that there is something happening on the back of the eye. The eye does not have any pain sensors so flashes are your best clue that there is something wrong. In contrast, the cornea (the clear window on the front of the eye) has more nerve pain sensors than any other part of the body. Injury to the cornea can be incredibly painful. However, in both cases, immediate treatment is needed. Our office staff is well trained to know how to expedite the treatment of these type of injuries. Call immediately when an injury occurs. We are here to help.
A corneal abrasion, or laceration, is an injury that occurs from a foreign object entering the eye or from blunt trauma to the eye. The degree of penetration of the cornea determines if it is an abrasion or laceration. An abrasion usually results from dirt, sand, or contacts entering the eye and getting caught between the eyelid and the cornea. This creates an unpleasant feeling and traditionally causes the person to blink causing more pain. Since the debris is caught in between the two it scratches the cornea. When a foreign object actually penetrates the eye a corneal laceration occurs. A corneal abrasion can be diagnosed using a fluorescein dye. The dye is applied to the eye and a cobalt blue light is shined into the eye which will reveal a bright yellow-green is an abrasion is present. A corneal laceration is traditionally diagnosed through observation of the eye and then a thorough exam from an ophthalmologist or optometrist. A corneal abrasion can be given antibiotic drops to help prevent infection and will be healed traditionally within a couple days to a week. A corneal laceration will also be given antibiotic drops and an antibiotic ointment that will be used until healed; generally one to three weeks.
Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is redness and inflammation of the membranes (conjunctiva) covering the whites of the eyes and the membranes on the inner part of the eyelids. These membranes react to a wide range of bacteria, viruses, allergy-provoking agents, irritants, and toxic agents, as well as to underlying diseases within the body. Viral and bacterial forms of conjunctivitis are common in childhood, but they occur in adults as well. However, there are many causes of pink eye. They can be classified as either infectious or noninfectious. Pink eye does not cause any changes in vision. Viral pink eye symptoms are usually associated with more of a watery discharge that is not green or yellow in color. Often, viral "cold-like" symptoms, such as sinus congestion and runny nose, are also present. The eyelids may be swollen. Sometimes looking at bright lights is painful. This infection must be correctly detected and treated. Viral pink eye is highly contagious. The symptoms of viral pink eye can last one to two weeks.
Bacterial pink eye symptoms include: eye pain, swelling, redness, a moderate to large amount of discharge, usually yellow or greenish in color.The discharge commonly accumulates after sleeping. Bacterial pink eye is treated by repeated warm washcloths applied to the eyes and requires antibiotic eyedrops or ointment prescribed by the doctor.
The eye and eyelid are a very common site for allergic reactions. About 50 % of conjunctivitis (pink eye) seen by doctors is allergic in nature. The eyelid is connected directly to the covering of the white of the eye called the conjunctiva. Because the skin of the eyelid is so thin, it is especially prone to minimal irritants, such as cosmetics or even detergents used on pillowcases. The symptoms may persist long after the allergic exposure. Allergic eye symptoms may be seasonal, usually in the late spring or fall when pollen counts are the highest. Up to 80% of hay fever patients may have allergic eye conditions. Allergens can be diluted and removed from the ocular surface through lubrication with artificial tears. Cold compresses also may be used to give relief from ocular symptoms. The more severe variants of conjunctivitis can be controlled by topical corticosteroids, which your eye doctor would prescribe.
Monday-Thursday: 8:30-5:00 pm
Summer hours (Memorial Day- Labor Day)
Monday 8:00-7:00 pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:00-4:00 pm
1300 19th St NE
Watertown, SD 57201