EYE, FOREIGN BODY IN
- A foreign body (FB) or
object lodged in the eye
- Main symptoms are
irritation, pain, tearing and blinking
- Foreign bodies in the eye
need to be removed, as they can damage the eye.
- The most common objects
that get in the eye are an eyelash or a piece of dried mucus ("sleep").
Particulate matter such as sand, dirt, sawdust, or grit also can be
blown into the eyes. Tree and plant pollen can blow into the eyes.
- Rubbing the eye can lead to
the foreign object scratching the cornea (clear part in center of eye).
See More Appropriate Topic (instead of this one) If
WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR FOR FOREIGN BODY IN THE EYE
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If:
- You think you have a
- Sharp FB (Foreign Body)
- The FB is a piece of chemical
- FB hit eye at high speed (e.g. metallic chip from hammering,
- FB is stuck on the eyeball (Caution: do not attempt
- FB feels like it's still present after eye has been washed
- Pain or blurred vision are
present after the eye has been washed out
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9am
and 4pm) If:
- You think
you need to be seen
- Yellow or green pus occurs
Self Care at Home If:
- Minor foreign body in the
eye and you don't think you need to be seen
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR EYE FOREIGN BODY
- Treatment for Numerous
Particles (such as dirt or sand):
- Clean around the eye with a wet washcloth
- Try to open and close the eye repeatedly
while submerging that side of the face in a pan of water.
Treatment for a Particle in a Corner of the Eye:
- Try to get it out with a moistened cotton
swab or the corner of a moistened cloth.
Treatment for a Particle Under the Lower Lid:
- Pull the lower lid out by depressing the
skin above the cheekbone.
- Touch the particle with a moistened cotton
- If that doesn't work, try pouring water on
the speck while pulling the lower lid out.
Treatment for a Particle Under the Upper Lid:
- If particle can't be seen, it's probably
under the upper lid, the most common hiding place.
- Try to open and close the eye several times
while it is submerged in a pan or bowl of water.
- If this fails, pull the upper lid out and
draw it over the lower lid. This maneuver, and tears, will sometimes
dislodge the particle.
Expected Course: The discomfort, redness and excessive tearing usually
pass 1 to 2 hours after the FB is removed.
- Contacts: Patients with contact lenses need to switch to glasses temporarily. (Reason: to prevent damage to the cornea.)
- Call Your Doctor If:
- This approach does not
remove all the foreign material from the eye (i.e. the sensation of
"grittiness" or pain persists).
- Vision does not return to
normal after the eye has been irrigated.
- Foreign object has been
removed, but tearing and blinking persist
- You become worse or
develop any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical
advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full
responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Adult HouseCalls Online. Copyright © 2000-2004
David Thompson, M.D. FACEP
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