Anything that gets into any part of your eye is a foreign body. It can be the occasional eyelash, sand, dirt, or glass. They are all objects that are not naturally found in the eye. It depends on the size and type of material, but a foreign body can cause minor irritation, bleeding, or even vision loss.
When the foreign body enters your eye, it will probably affect the conjunctiva or the cornea. The cornea is the clear dome that serves as a protective covering for the eye’s front surface. On the other hand, the conjunctiva is the thin mucous membrane covering the sclera. Damage to either of them can lead to vision problems.
What Causes A Foreign Body To Get Into The Eye?
Outside factors cause foreign objects to get into the eye. Most of the time, an object gets hurtled into the eye due to a mishap. Protective eyewear can prevent this and other eye injuries, especially in a dangerous location like a construction area.
The most common types of objects that get into the eye are eyelashes, dried mucus, dirt, sand, sawdust, glass shards, or metal particles. Sometimes, your contact lenses might get out of alignment and cause irritation too. You might also have an accident while using cosmetics.
Signs And Symptoms Of Foreign Body In The Eye
Pain is one of the many signs and symptoms of a foreign body in your eye. There are a lot of others, which include:
- eye discharge
- tearing or watery eyes
- redness or bloodshot eyes
- extreme tearing
- excessive blinking
- scratching sensation
- vision loss or blurred vision in the affected eye
- a feeling that something is in your eye
- a discomfort or feeling of pressure
- pain whenever you look at a light
- Bleeding into the eye’s sclera (either conjunctival or subconjunctival hemorrhage)
- blood layering in the front of the iris or behind the cornea
It is uncommon for foreign objects to penetrate the eye. It usually happens due to a high-speed impact, like an explosion. The foreign object gets hurtled by an incredible force that embeds itself in the eye. In that case, the foreign object is now known as an intraocular object. The bleeding and discharge of fluid are symptoms of an intraocular object in the eye.
What To Do When A Foreign Body Is In Your Eye
Most of the time, you can flush out the foreign body on your own. Before doing anything, be sure that you don’t rub your eye or try to remove an object that penetrates your eye. If it’s the latter, you should seek emergency care immediately. If the object is not embedded, you can try removing it with the following steps:
- Wash your hands first with soap and water
- Try flushing the object out with clean, warm water
- Use a small drinking glass. Put the rim of the glass at the base of your eye socket, and then wash the affected eye
- Flush the foreign object in the shower by letting lukewarm water stream gently over the affected eye. Hold your eyelid open to let the water wash your eye
If you are wearing contact lenses, don’t forget to remove them before irrigating the affected eye. If not, the foreign body can get stuck to the lens and cause eye pain, irritation, and other symptoms when you wear them again.
Please call or text Weiss Eyecare Clinic at (605) 882-0808 or visit our Watertown, South Dakota, clinic if you need help with a foreign body in your eye or to discuss any questions about your vision problems.