When to Consider Urgent Care for Your Eyes

Not every eye problem requires immediate care, even though its presence can be concerning. About one-quarter of emergency room visits for eye issues result from minor problems that don’t require urgent attention. 

Conversely, there are some mild symptoms that may suggest serious issues far out of proportion with effects on your eyesight. Look to our team at Accent Vision Specialists in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for both urgent and non-urgent eye care. Our optometric physicians specialize in urgent care and are ideally positioned to help you with any eye problem. 

The “big three” non-urgent eye issues

Your eyesight is central to your ability to function, so it’s natural to worry about your vision anytime you have an eye disorder. However, there are three common eye conditions that people often mistake for medical emergencies despite the fact that they’re mild and have little risk to your eyesight. 

These non-urgent eye conditions are: 

While these eye conditions may bother you, there’s no reason to panic and seek immediate care in the form of an emergency room visit. 

Eye symptoms that need urgent care

Regular eye exams are the best way to detect and prevent serious eye issues. Sometimes, though, you could have symptoms that mean it’s time to visit our office as soon as possible. Here are some of the most common. 


Having some floaters — light and dark specks that appear to move within your field of vision — is normal and common. But the sudden appearance of more could indicate retinal detachment or tearing. 

Flashes of light

Seeing flashes of light is another sign of potential problems with your retinas. If you experience both flashes and floaters, your eyes need urgent attention. 

Loss of vision

Changes to your vision, including temporary loss of sight in one or both eyes, tunnel vision, double vision, new blind spots, or other visual distortions, require prompt attention. As well as vision problems, these symptoms could indicate stroke or other serious medical problems. 

Curtain-like shadows

Another symptom of retinal detachment is a shadow effect over your eyesight that resembles a curtain or drapery. Without prompt attention you might be at risk of a permanent loss of sight. 

Foreign objects in your eye

Most everyone experiences dust or debris in their eye at some point and it usually resolves itself. It can be more serious if the foreign object can’t easily be flushed. If you’re still in discomfort or if you know it may be a harmful piece of debris, bandage your eye and seek urgent care. 

Any impact injury to the eye is potentially a candidate for urgent care, and if you’re in doubt about a symptom it’s always best to err on the side of caution since your eyesight is precious. Contact us by phone or online for urgent care or any time you have questions or concerns about your eyes. 

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