EYE, FOREIGN BODY IN
DESCRIPTIONA foreign body in the eye is an embedding of a small speck of metal, wood, stone, sand, paint, or other foreign material in the eye. The eye, usually only the conjunctiva (outer eye covering) is involved.
Appropriate health care includes:
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
Emergency-room care (sometimes).
Self-care after removal of the particle.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSSevere pain, irritation, and redness in the child's eye.
Foreign body visible with the naked eye (usually). Sometimes the foreign body is very small, trapped under the child's eyelid and invisible except with medical examination.
RISK FACTORSWindy weather.
Certain activities, such as carpentry, in which fine particles of wood or other material fly loose in the air.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEYour child should wear protective eye coverings if activities or hobbies involve the risk of eye injury.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor. This may include staining the child's eye with a harmless substance (fluorescein) to outline the object and examine the eye through a magnifying lens.
Infection, especially if the foreign body is not removed completely.
Severe, permanent vision damage caused by penetration of deeper eye layers.
Most objects can be removed simply from your child's eye under local anesthesia in a doctor's office or emergency room.
HOME CAREInstructions for your child:
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.
Use moist compresses to relieve discomfort after removal. Prepare by folding a clean cloth in several layers. Dip in warm water, wring out slightly and apply to the eye. Dip the compress often to keep it moist. Keep applying the compress for an hour, rest an hour, and repeat.
MEDICATIONAntibiotic eye drops or ointment to prevent infection.
Local anesthetic eye drops.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your doctor may prescribe:
Your child should resume normal activities gradually after removal of the foreign body and the patch, if one is applied.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes, when pain or discomfort are not severe.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has a foreign body in the eye.
The following occurs after removal:
-- Pain increases or does not disappear in 2 days.
-- Your child develops a fever.
-- Your child's vision changes.