Bluewater Optometry

Emergency Eye Care in Sarnia

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Compassionate Care During any Eye Emergency

An eye emergency can constitute a number of different situations: an injury, sudden vision changes, strange pain. It can be difficult to know what to do in these moments, but you shouldn’t hesitate when it comes to your eyes. Many injuries and eye diseases can cause long-term consequences to your vision and eye health.

But we’re here for you at Blue Water Optometry. We have the experience, knowledge, and technology to swiftly diagnose and treat many eye emergencies, potentially saving your eyesight.

If you’re experiencing symptoms related to an eye emergency, please call us immediately. We’ll make accommodations to ensure you receive the care you need.


Eye emergency symptoms can include, but aren’t limited to, the following:

  • Sudden vision loss in one or both eyes
  • Sudden changes to vision (like double vision)
  • Eye pain
  • New or severe headache
  • Bleeding or discharge from or around the eye
  • Bruising (black eye)
  • Red or bloodshot eyes
  • Itchy, stinging, or burning eyes
  • A constant feeling that something is in the eye (foreign body sensation)
  • New sensitivity to light
  • Sudden swelling of the eyes or eyelids

Common Eye Emergencies

Many eye diseases develop over time and are usually diagnosed during a regular eye exam. However, occasionally an eye disease develops spontaneously and requires emergency attention and quick treatment.

Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma

Most types of glaucoma develop slowly and silently, but acute angle-closure glaucoma is sudden and considered a medical emergency.

Acute angle-closure glaucoma occurs when the eye’s drainage system abruptly becomes blocked, causing a rapid increase in intraocular pressure. This increased pressure damages the optic nerve and, if not caught and treated immediately, can result in irreversible vision loss.

Symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma include:

  • Eye pain
  • Severe headache
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Rainbows or halos around lights
  • Redness in the white of the eye
  • Sudden loss of vision


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) generally progresses slowly as we age, and while most cases are dry AMD, it can occasionally develop into wet AMD when abnormal blood vessels in the retina suddenly break and leak blood and fluid into the eye.

Wet AMD can cause sudden central vision loss and is considered a medical emergency. 

Symptoms of wet AMD include:

  • Visual distortions, like straight lines looking bent
  • Reduced central vision in one or both eyes
  • Decreased intensity or brightness of colours
  • A blurry or blind spot in your vision
  • A haziness in your overall vision

Blunt eye trauma is an injury caused by blunt force to the face or eyes. It can lead to bruising and swelling of the ocular tissue or surrounding structures (black eye). Although this may not seem overly dangerous, a blunt injury to the eye can lead to several complications, including globe rupture or retrobulbar hematoma, both of which can lead to long-term complications and even blindness.

Blunt trauma can occur during many different circumstances. If you or your loved one have sustained an injury to the face or head, seek immediate medical attention, even if the injury seems minor.

Symptoms of blunt trauma include:

  • Eye deformity
  • Eye pain
  • Vision loss
  • Protrusion of the eye

Chemical burns occur when a chemical makes contact with the eye. These burns can cause extensive damage to many parts of the eye, can even lead to permanent vision changes or blindness, and require immediate medical attention.

Chemical burns can occur in many different situations and locations, including at home, the workplace, or school. These injuries most often affect those who work in industrial chemical laboratories, machine factories, agriculture, construction, fabric mills, automotive repair facilities, and on cleaning and sanitizing crews.

Symptoms of a chemical burn include:

  • Burning in the eye after chemical exposure
  • Excessive tearing
  • Pain
  • Redness on the eye and eyelid
  • Blurred vision

Acid Burns

Acid burns can occur when the eyes come into contact with vinegar, glass polish (which contains hydrofluoric acid), nail polish remover (which contains acetic acid), or battery acid. The most dangerous acid

Acids have a lower pH than the eye, which precipitates tissue protein, preventing further penetration into the eye. Acids can cause significant damage to the cornea, but are generally less harmful than alkali burns. An exception is a hydrofluoric acid burn, which can damage the eye as much as an alkali burn can.

Alkali Burns

Alkali burns are more dangerous than acid burns because alkali products penetrate the eye more rapidly than acids, damaging both the internal and external structures of the eye. Alkali burns can occur when the eye comes into contact with ammonia-based cleaners, fertilizers, drain or oven cleaners, or cement.

Small Foreign Objects

It’s fairly common to have small foreign objects like an eyelash, dust, or dirt enter the eye. Small objects are often flushed by the eye’s natural system, like watering and blinking, but sometimes a small item can become stuck or cause a corneal abrasion (scratch). A corneal abrasion can be treated with antibiotics.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Watering eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision

Large Foreign Objects

Larger and sharper foreign bodies, like metal, glass, rust, or debris, can cause significant damage to the cornea and may puncture the eye. If an object has become embedded in your eye, call us immediately.

Symptoms include:

  • Itching, irritation, or redness of the eye
  • Eye pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurry vision

Here for You When You Need Us

If you or a loved one has sustained an eye injury or are experiencing sudden eye symptoms, please call us immediately for emergency eye care.

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Come See Us Today

We’re on the corner of Exmouth Street and Napier Street, right across from Norm Perry Park.

Our Address

251 Exmouth Street
Sarnia, ON N7T 5M7

Contact Us

Clinic Hours

9 AM4:30 PM
9 AM5 PM
9 AM4 PM
9 AM5 PM
9 AM4:30 PM

We are closed for all statutory holidays, and long weekends.

Hours are subject to change without notice.

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