An eyelid cut or laceration is a serious issue. Often it is from a trauma or injury from a sharp object. The first impulse is to run to an emergency room at a hospital or an urgent care center to be seen. Is that the best decision? If it is in the middle of the night it may be. What if it is during regular hours? Maybe not. If it is during normal business hours, the best move may be to try to see an eye specialist at their office. Why is that? I will explain.
First when the eyelid is lacerated, an underlying eyeball injury may exist. In that case an ophthalmologist or eye care specialist needs to examine the eye to make sure that the eye underneath the eyelid is not lacerated or cut. That is a serious situation that needs repair immediately. If the trauma to the eyelid is great enough, there may be a need for the eye to be examined to look for other signs of trauma such as retinal detachments, retinal tears, or inflammation in the eye. This is only done by an eye care specialist. So why not go to the emergency room for this?
First off, in the priority scale in the emergency room, an eyelid laceration is low priority. Much more important and for good reason are patients who have heart failure, heart attacks, gun shot wounds, breathing problems and many other much more serious conditions. As a result the wait in the ER may be for hours….like 6 hours. It may be frustrating but the ERs first goal is to save lives.
Secondly, ophthalmologists take call for emergency rooms in hospitals but are not readily available. That means if there is an eye injury an ophthalmologist has to be called, they have to come in and be seen. If they are at their office, it may mean that they will come to the hospital after seeing patients. It could delay the repair of the eyelid. Though it is frustrating to wait, it does not affect the outcome of the laceration repair. That being said, something that would take 1 hour may take hours waiting for the ophthalmologist.
Third, oculoplastic surgeons may or may not take regular call at the hospital where you go to have the eyelid laceration repaired. An emergency room doctor or other doctor may attempt to repair the eyelid. Commonly, they will perform a competent job. If you are considered however about the cosmetic outcome of the eyelid laceration repair you probably would want the best job possible. This is performed by an eyelid specialist or oculoplastic specialist.
So why go to the ER if you have an eyelid cut? Two reasons. First, if you don’t have insurance or insurance the oculoplastic surgeons or ophthalmologists take, you may not be able to be seen by these doctors in the office so you would have to go to the emergency room. Second, if you sustain the eyelid laceration after hours (after 5 pm) you most likely would have to go to the emergency room or wait until the next morning for the eyelid laceration to be repaired.
This is a prime example why patients in Denver Colorado with an eyelid laceration or cut should go to an ophthalmologist or oculoplastic surgeon to get it repaired. A specialist needs to check out the eye to make sure it is ok and a specialist needs to repair the eyelid to give the best cosmetic outcome possible.