There are a wide variety of eye injuries, all of which require an urgent medical evaluation due to the potential for permanent vision loss. We strongly recommend the use of protective eyewear such as safety goggles or eye shields when playing sports, operating tools or whenever there is a potential for injury. Eye injuries are particularly common in children.
The cornea is the clear front portion of the eyeball which is responsible for focusing light. Accidents may cause chemicals or foreign objects to come in contact with the cornea. The delicate and sensitive surface of the cornea can be easily scratched, resulting in what is known as a corneal abrasion. Abrasions of the cornea require emergency evaluation and treatment due to the potential for infection and vision loss.
The "whites" of the eyes are covered by a clear membrane called the conjunctiva. The small blood vessels (capillaries) which course within the conjunctiva can be damaged by foreign objects, eye rubbing, or even an infection, causing a small amount of blood to accumulate under the conjunctiva known as a subconjunctival hemorrhage. These hemorrhages cause severe eye redness and may be exacerbated by medications such as aspirin.
A cataract occurs when the eye's natural lens becomes cloudy, causing blurry vision and/or other visual distortions. Cataracts are typically caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun, aging, and genetic factors. Cataracts can also result from any forceful impact to the eye. Cataracts which cause visual symptoms are treated by surgery.
A forceful impact to the eye may also result in damage to the delicate blood vessels on the iris, the central colored portion of the eye, resulting in blood inside the eyeball called a hyphema. A hyphema requires urgent medical attention as it may result in permanent vision loss.
Vision in the normal eye, or the Emmetropic eye, light rays focused directly on the retina result in clear vision.
Myopia or nearsightedness, occurs when light rays have their focal point in front of the retina instead of directly on the retina. This is normally caused by the eye being either too long or the cornea too steep, resulting in blurry distance vision.
Hyperopia or farsightedness, occurs when the eye is either too long or the cornea is too flat, resulting in light rays that would have to focus behind the retina. This inability to focus within the relaxed state of the eye, makes vision blurry at close, and sometimes blurry at distance as well.
Astigmatism is an optical defect of the eye just as nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia), are. Astigmatism results from the cornea having a sharper curve in one direction than the remainder of the cornea. An example of this situation is the bottom of a teaspoon where the curvature from side to side is a good deal sharper than from front to back. (Of course, this example is exaggerated and the astigmatic eye appears normal.) This results in the light rays focusing on more than one point on the retina resulting in blurry or distorted vision.
If you would like more information about Ocular Injuries or to schedule an appointment, feel free to fill out our convenient contact form or call us directly at 310.229.1220.