Human eye is very sensitive organ and slightest scratch or an injury can cause intense distress and discomfort. It is very unlikely for anyone who has not come across a foreign object in his eyes sometime in his life. Foreign body is actually tiny particles or material that enters the eye from outside. They can be dust particles or metal shards, a small wood particle or a tiny insect like an ant.
Most often these foreign particles lodge on the surface of eye, namely the conjunctiva or cornea. However, some foreign bodies can penetrate inside the eye, especially the metal particles which travel as high speed.Conjunctiva is white of an eye while cornea is a transparent membrane in the center of eye through which light enters into the eye.
Foreign particles not only irritate the eyes but they can also cause abrasion, scratches and sometime infection which can affect the vision. Fortunately, in majority of cases foreign body in eye causes minor injury and heals without leaving any long term vision problems. The first step of treatment is to remove the foreign object from the eye.
Symptoms Of Foreign Object In Eye
The symptoms of foreign object in eye are immediately felt.Patient may experience following symptoms;
- Sensation as if something is in the eye.
- The affected eye becomes sore and painful.
- Discomfort in the affected eye.
- Continuous flow of tears.
- The eyes become red due to inflamed blood vessels on the surface of eyes
- Swollen eyelids.
- Blurred vision.
- Pain while looking at light as the pupil undergoes spasm.
- Constant blinking of eyelids.
- Foreign bodies which penetrate the eyes may have all the above symptoms with additional symptom of bleeding from the eye.
How To Remove Foreign Object In Eye?
Foreign bodies, everything from sand, bits of wood, rust, dust particles, and metal particles are often blown or rubbed into the eyes. There is always a danger that these particles will scratch or get lodged in the eye. One of the essential requisite is that patient must not rub his eyes as it may cause abrasions or embedment of the particle. Secondly, measures should be taken to remove the foreign body from the eye.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with an antiseptic solution before examining the eye. Never use a toothpick, matchstick, or any other sharp instrument to remove the object. Wash your eyes with clean water, often a loose foreign body will be removed by flushing water in the eyes.
- Pull down the lower lid, if the object is on the inner surface of lower lid. Lift the object gently with the corner of a clean handkerchief or tissue paper. Do not use dry cotton.
- If the object is not under the lower lid, make the patient to look down. Grasp the lashes of upper lid gently. Pull the lid forward and down over the lower lid. It facilitates the tears to move the object out. If that does not work, gently pull the upper eyelid and evert (turn it inside out) it. Now with a corner of handkerchief take out the object.
- If the object is not found on the white of an eye, check the cornea with the use of good light. Cornea is the clear membrane in the center covering the colored part of the eye. If the object is visible on cornea, do not touch it. Wash your eyes with clean water. If the object does not come off, it may be embedded. Apply a dry protective dressing as an eye patch and consult the eye doctor or hospital emergency room.
- If you succeed in removing the foreign particle but there is still a scratchy feeling, possibly the cornea may have been scrapped. The condition will heal in 2 days if the injury is minor. Wash your eyes with water or weak solution of boric acid powder. If you still feel discomfort in your eyes after 2 days the injury requires medical attention.
- If the foreign body has penetrated inside the eye, emergency medical attention is required. The physician with the help of ophthalmic instruments will be able to locate the object and remove it by minor surgical procedure.