Emergency Eye Care

Please Note: If you are experiencing an eye care emergency, dial 911 immediately.

The eye doctors at In Vision Optical & Eye Care in Rapid City provide urgent eye care during business hours. Please call our office at 399-3811. If you are in need of emergency eye care care after hours, please call Dr Paula Sorensen’s cell phone 605-391-2392. If you don’t receive a call back within 30 minutes please try Black Hills Regional Eye Institute’s answering service at 341-2000.

Seek immediate help for eye pain, swelling, or redness. Issues untreated could lead to partial vision loss or possibly even permanent blindness.


Emergency Eye Symptoms

  • Vision loss (Sudden vision loss or blurring can be a symptom of a stroke. Dial 911 immediately)
  • Eye infections or Pink eye
  • Contact lens related redness or pain
  • New floaters or flashes of light
  • Eye pain
  • Double vision
  • Eye swelling or irritation
  • Foreign body in the eye – metal is more urgent
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Bruising on or around the eye
  • Bleeding from your eye
  • Blood in the white part of the eye
  • Discharge from the eye
  • Extreme itching of the eye or surrounding area
  • New or severe headaches


Urgent Eye Conditions


Cut On Eye/Small Foreign Objects In The Eye

A corneal abrasion, or a scratch or cut on your eye, is one of the most common eye injuries. Individuals experiencing a corneal abrasion do not always notice the side effects right away. It can be a few hours before symptoms such as redness, watery eye, sensitivity to light, diminished or blurry vision, or stinging become apparent. If you believe you may have a cut on your eye or corneal abrasion, contact our team of eye specialists immediately for an emergency office visit.

Corneal abrasions aren’t always the result of an obvious physical trauma to the eye, like getting poked by a finger or a stick. Often times, fine particles such as sawdust or sand can cause a corneal abrasion, especially if you proceed to rub your eye afterward. If you believe that you have a cut or scratched cornea, DO NOT rub or touch the eye with foreign objects of any kind. Doing so can make the scratch or abrasion worse. Instead, contact our urgent eye care specialists immediately and follow these eye first aid instructions.

If you have a large foreign object stuck in your eye, do not remove the object, and seek medical help immediately.


Chemicals in the Eye or Surrounding Area

Chemical burns from cleaning, garden, or industrial chemicals, or burns from aerosols and fumes, are a fairly common eye injury. Most chemical burns to the eye occur at work or in an industrial environment. Chemical eye burns can cause serious damage to the eye, including permanent blindness, and constitute an eye care emergency that should always be taken very seriously.

There are two types of chemical eye burns, alkali eye burns and acid eye burns. As you might recall from chemistry class, acidic chemicals are those with a PH balance less than 7, and chemicals with a PH balance higher than 7 are considered basic (7 being neutral). The more basic or acidic the chemical is, the more damage it can do to your eye.


Alkali Eye Burns

Alkali eye burns often cause the most damage among chemical eye burn emergencies. Alkali chemicals penetrate the eye more easily than acidic chemicals, and can not only cause damage to the outer eye but the inner eye as well. Alkali chemicals that can burn the eye can be found in many household cleaners, and most frequently involve chemicals containing ammonia, lye, lime, magnesium, or potassium hydroxide.


Acidic Eye Burns

Acidic eye burns, while still dangerous and you should seek emergency eye care immediately, typically do not cause as much damage as eye burns from basic, or alkaline chemicals. This being said, acidic eye burns can still cause severe damage to the eye, including permanent blindness, and you should contact In Vision’s emergency eye care doctors immediately. A few common, acidic, household substances include sulfuric acid (vehicle battery), acetic acid (nail polish remover), hydrofluoric acid (glass cleaner), and vinegar.

If you’re experiencing a chemical eye burn contact our emergency eye care team immediately and follow these chemical eye burn first aid instructions.


Blow or Physical Trauma to the Eye

Physical trauma, or a blow to the eye can damage not only the eye, but the surrounding tissue and bone structure as well. Symptoms of severe eye damage may include:

  • Blurry vision/changes in vision
  • Dullness or loss of feeling in the eye and surrounding area
  • Ache or pain when moving the eye
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Blood in the white (sclera) or colored (iris) parts of the eye
  • Eye pain
  • Deformity of the eye or eye area
  • Swelling


If you are experiencing a medical emergency or life threatening situation, dial 911 and seek immediate medical attention. For non-life threatening eye trauma emergencies, contact the emergency eye care doctors at In Vision Optical and follow these eye trauma first aid instructions.