What is a foreign body in the eye?

by Dr. Robert Benza, MD 3. May 2014 07:19

Dr. Robert Benza

Is it painful? How is it removed? Many patients will come to our office with eye discomfort. There are many different causes for these symtpoms. Often,  there may be an object in the eye. The history is very important. We want to know if the patient is a contact lens wearer, been working in the yard, or what were they doing when the symtoms started.
Many patients working in the yard have debris blown in the eye which can inbed under the upper eyelid. This often results with vertical scratches on the cornea due to blinking.  We can look under the upper lid and often remove any debris just with a Q-tip. Other objects can get inbedded in the cornea and can be more difficult to remove. Metallic objects/rust are very common. In our office,  we see this a great deal with Plumbers and Auto workers. In the office,  the rust or foreign body is often removed with a fine instrument or burr. With a numbing drop,  the process is comfortable for the patient. Some patients have a contact lens fold under the upper lid. Once located,  this is easily removed with a forceps or another fine instrument.
Once the foreign body is removed, most of the symptoms are improved. If the foreign body caused a corneal scratch or abrasion, these patients still will have discomfort for a few days until the cornea is healed. We often will use antibiotic drops or an ointment at bedtime to help these symptoms. If the patient has a significant abrasion, they may require a bandage contact lens or patch. If you develop sudden eye discomfort, contact your eye care professional immediately. 
Remember,  protect those eyes!

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