A foreign body in the eye refers to anything that enters the eye from outside of the body. It can be anything—from a particle of dust to a metal shard—that does not naturally belong there.
If you have a foreign body in your eye, prompt diagnosis and treatment will help prevent infection and potential loss of vision. This is especially important in extreme cases. Removing a foreign body yourself could cause serious eye damage so seek professional, medical help.
Foreign bodies usually 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—the white of your eye. The conjunctiva runs to the edge of the cornea. It also covers the moist area under your eyelids.
Foreign bodies can cause abrasions on the cornea which are usually minor, although some types of foreign bodies can cause infection or damage your vision. A foreign body that lands on the front part of the eye cannot get lost behind the eyeball.
The most common types of foreign bodies in the eye are:
- dried mucus
- contact lenses
- metal particles
- glass shards
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 bodies that enter the eye at a high rate of speed pose the highest risk of injury.
Symptoms of a Foreign Body in the Eye
If you have a foreign body in your eye, you probably will suffer 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
Additional symptoms of foreign bodies that have penetrated the eye include discharge of fluid or blood from the eye.
If you have a foreign body in your eye, prompt diagnosis and treatment will help prevent infection and potential loss of vision. This is especially important in extreme cases. Removing a foreign object yourself could cause serious eye damage so seek professional, medical help.
Phone Hamilton Eye Clinic for an acute appointment – 07 834 0006 – or see your doctor immediately.