Q: “I just got hit in the eye! Do I need to see the eye doctor?”

A: This can be a loaded question. It really depends on the nature of the injury and any symptoms that develop afterward. Regardless, getting hit in the eye is no fun, and seeing an eye doctor may be necessary if you’re worried about your vision or the health of your eye.

Vision Changes

The first thing to note is whether or not there have been any changes to vision. If a patient’s vision is blurry or if they have double vision, the short answer is yes, they need to be seen by an eye care professional. It is very important to be evaluated by an eye doctor if either of these symptoms occurs after an eye injury.


An obvious trigger that calls for an appointment with an eye care provider is the presence of pain. After getting hit in the eye, patients can often suffer a corneal abrasion. This feels like a sharp pain in the eye and can be accompanied by watering, light sensitivity and/or difficulty keeping the eye open. When this is the case, your eye doctor may prescribe antibiotics in order to prevent a corneal infection. A ‘band-aid’ contact lens and eye drops can also make the eye more comfortable and reduce pain. Fortunately, if proper treatment is sought, a corneal abrasion can heal in just a few days.

Bleeding In/On the Eye

Another common occurrence following a hit to the eye is what is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage (a broken blood vessel in the eye). This looks like a bright red spot of blood on the white part of the eye. A subconjunctival hemorrhage alone is typically not a serious issue, but it can be indicative of bleeding in other parts of the eye that can be more damaging. Any time an injury results in bleeding in the eye, it is important to see your eye doctor.

Retinal Detachment

The last and most potentially serious complication that can occur after getting hit in the eye is the development of a retinal detachment. This occurs when the retina separates from the underlying vascular system in the eye, which causes vision to decrease. In untreated, this can result in permanent loss of vision.

Signs of a retinal detachment include:

  • Flashes of light. (These flashes resemble lightning bolts or camera flashes)
  • Black spots showing up in your vision

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you need to be evaluated immediately.

As always, our team at Providence Eye & Laser Specialists is ready to assist you in any way we can, and I am currently accepting new patients.

Do you need to see our optometrist?

If you’ve become concerned about getting hit in the eye, show signs of retinal detachment, or need a general eye exam, call our office to schedule an appointment