Treatment of common eye emergencies

H. Silverman, L. Nunez, D. B. Feller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Some ocular conditions represent serious emergencies requiring immediate treatment. Chemical exposure requires prompt irrigation with saline. Major trauma with possible globe perforation requires eye shielding and referral for surgical evaluation. Sudden loss of vision may represent vascular occlusion and should be evaluated promptly by an ophthalmologist. Angle closure glaucoma is rare; drug treatment may be instituted in consultation with an ophthalmologist. Patients with orbital cellulitis should be hospitalized for intravenous antibiotic therapy. Less urgent eye conditions can be treated within 24 hours of onset. Minor trauma with hyphema requires cycloplegic medications, eye shielding and ophthalmologic consultation. Visual floaters, light flashes or 'curtains' may represent vitreous or retinal detachment and should be evaluated by an ophthalmologist. Foreign bodies can usually be removed by irrigation or careful instrumentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2279-2287
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican family physician
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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