As in many other pathologies, also in the field of visual health, ophthalmologists at the Barraquer Ophthalmology Center have detected that the fear of Covid-19 transmission significantly reduces emergency care attendance, even in cases of great need.
Although at all times, in this pandemic situation, the Center has recommended the responsible use of medical emergencies, the risk that many people are failing to come with unequivocal symptoms of large eye injuries and serious conditions complicate the clinical profile and can cause irreversible injuries.
That is why "from the Barraquer Ophthalmology Center we consider it important to remember in which situations it is essential for people to go urgently to the specialist and thus avoid an aggravation of cases," emphasizes Dr. Juan Álvarez de Toledo, ophthalmologist and medical deputy director of the Center.
These are the cases in which we recommend going to the emergency service quickly:
- Loss of vision or sudden appearance of flying flies (myodesopsis) or flashes of light. Although sometimes the presence of floaters is not significant, their sudden appearance could be due to a hemovitreous (presence of blood in the vitreous humor, the area of the interior of the eye) or a retinal detachment, whose symptoms cause changes in the field of vision with the appearance of a black spot or curtain. There are a number of risk factors for retinal detachment such as a personal or family history of retinal detachment, other eye diseases or suffering from high myopia, among others.
- Cases of chemical or thermal eye burns or when the patient has a very red eye. These days, a higher incidence of the use of highly aggressive chemical disinfectants, and even the inadequate mixture of them for a thorough home cleaning to prevent contagion, is causing numerous domestic accidents that involve burns to the eye due to chemical substances. Although, in many cases, the eyelids manage to protect the eye, sometimes the chemicals manage to reach the ocular surface, causing burns. Possible consequences are infection, perforation of the eye and even blindness in the most severe cases.
- Entry of foreign bodies into the eye causing injuries.
- Eye trauma from blows, domestic accidents or carelessness.
- Corneal infections, that must be treated in consultation.
To reinforce this message and "for the peace of mind of patients, it should be noted that both the Center and the emergency services of large hospitals have strict protocols and security controls to prevent the spread of the coronavirus," concludes Dr. Álvarez de Toledo.