Foreign Object in the Eye

What is a foreign object in the eye?

A foreign object in the eye is something that enters the eye from outside of the body. It can be anything from a dust particle to a metal shard.The foreign object will most likely affect the cornea or the conjunctiva. The cornea is the protective covering of the front of the eye, and the conjunctiva is the mucous membrane that covers the white of the eye.

A foreign object in the eye is something that enters the eye from outside the body. It can be anything that does not naturally belong there, from a particle of dust to a metal shard. When a foreign object enters the eye, it will most likely affect the cornea or the conjunctiva.

The cornea is a clear dome that covers the front surface of the eye. It serves as a protective covering for the front of the eye. Light enters the eye through the cornea. It also helps focus light on the retina at the back of the eye.

The conjunctiva is the thin mucous membrane that covers the sclera, or the white of the eye. The conjunctiva runs to the edge of the cornea. It also covers the moist area under the eyelids.

A foreign object that lands on the front part of the eye cannot get lost behind the eyeball, but they can cause scratches on the cornea. These injuries usually are minor. However, some types of foreign objects can cause infection or damage your vision.

Symptoms of a foreign object in the eye

If you have a foreign object in your eye, you probably will experience immediate symptoms. You may experience:

  • a feeling of pressure or discomfort
  • a sensation that something is in your eye
  • eye pain
  • extreme tearing
  • pain when you look at light
  • excessive blinking
  • redness or a bloodshot eye

Cases in which a foreign object penetrates the eye are rare. Typically objects that enter the eye are the result of an intense, high-speed impact like an explosion. Foreign objects that penetrate the eye are called intraocular objects. Additional symptoms of an intraocular object include discharge of fluid or blood from the eye.

Causes of a foreign object in the eye

Many foreign objects enter the conjunctiva of the eye as a result of mishaps that occur during everyday activities.

Dirt and sand fragments typically enter the eye because of wind or falling debris. Sharp materials like metal or glass can get into the eye as a result of explosions or accidents with tools such as hammers, drills, or lawnmowers. Foreign objects that enter the eye at a high rate of speed pose the highest risk of injury.

  • a feeling of pressure or discomfort
  • a sensation that something is in your eye
  • eye pain
  • extreme tearing
  • pain when you look at light
  • excessive blinking
  • redness or a bloodshot eye

Emergency care

If you have a foreign object in your eye, prompt diagnosis and treatment will help prevent infection and potential loss of vision. This is especially important in extreme or intraocular cases.

  • has sharp or rough edges
  • is large enough to interfere with closing your eye
  • contains chemicals
  • was propelled into the eye at a high rate of speed
  • is embedded in the eye
  • is causing bleeding in the eye

Home care

If you suspect you have a foreign object in your eye, it’s important to get treatment promptly to avoid infection and the possibility of damaged vision. Take these precautions:

  • Do not rub or put pressure on the eye
  • Do not use any utensils or implements, such as tweezers or cotton swabs, on the surface of the eye.
  • Do not remove contact lenses unless there is sudden swelling or you have suffered a chemical injury.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Look at the affected eye in an area with bright light.
  • To examine the eye and find the object, look up while pulling the lower lid down. Follow this by looking down while flipping up the inside of the upper lid.
  • Immerse the side of your face with the affected eye in a flat container of water. While the eye is under water, open and close the eye several times to flush out the object.