DEFINITION--Embedding of a small speck of metal, wood, stone, sand, paint or
other foreign material in the eye.
BODY PARTS INVOLVED--Eye, usually the conjunctiva (outer eye covering).
SEX OR AGE MOST AFFECTED--Both sexes; all ages.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- Severe pain, irritation and redness in the eye.
- Foreign body visible with the naked eye (usually). Sometimes the foreign body is very
small, trapped under the eyelid and invisible except with medical examination.
- Scratchy feeling with blinking.
RISK INCREASES WITH
- Windy weather.
- Occupations or activity, such as carpentry or grinding, in which fine particles of wood
or other materials fly loose in the air.
HOW TO PREVENT--Wear protective eye coverings if your occupation or hobby
involves the risk of eye injury.
What To Expect
- Your own observation of symptoms.
- Medical history and physical exam by a doctor. This may include staining the eye with a
harmless substance (fluorescein) to outline the object and examine the eye through a
APPROPRIATE HEALTH CARE
- Doctor's treatment.
- The procedure to remove the object will be determined by its size and location within
- An eye patch will be applied to keep the eye closed.
- Follow-up examination should be done in 1 to 2 days.
- Self-care after removal of the particle.
- Infection, especially if the foreign body is not removed completely.
- Severe, permanent vision damage caused by penetration of deeper eye layers.
PROBABLE OUTCOME--Most objects can be removed simply under local anesthesia in a
doctor's office or emergency room.
How To Treat
- Ask someone else to drive you to the doctor's office. Don't try to drive yourself.
- Don't rub the eye.
- Keep the eye closed, if possible, until you are examined.
- Wear an eye patch to keep the eye closed, or dark glasses, for 24 hours after removal to
protect your eye from bright light.
MEDICATION--Your doctor may prescribe:
- Antibiotic eye drops or ointment to prevent infection.
- Pain relievers.
- Local anesthetic eye drops.
ACTIVITY--Resume your normal activities gradually after removal of the foreign
body and the patch, if one is applied.
DIET--No special diet.
Call Your Doctor If
- You have a foreign body in the eye.
- The following occurs after removal: Pain increases or does not disappear in 2 days. You
develop a fever. Your vision changes.