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What You Should Know About Corneal Foreign Bodies

When something gets stuck in your eye, it can usually be removed by flushing the eye with water or eye irrigation solution. If the object doesn’t budge, it may have become attached to or embedded in your cornea.

A corneal foreign body may cause sight-threatening complications and intense pain.

If you suspect you have a corneal foreign body, contact your local eye care provider or emergency medical center for prompt removal.

What Is a Corneal Foreign Body?

Fragments of materials like sand, wood, metal, plastic and glass that become embedded in the cornea are called corneal foreign bodies.

If your cornea becomes injured in any way, there is a chance that a foreign body may have been lodged in your cornea as a result. For example, if you sustained a corneal abrasion, you may also have a corneal foreign body and not know it. Additionally, a superficial injury or foreign bodies in the external parts of the eye may also lead to a corneal foreign body.

What are the Symptoms of a Corneal Foreign Body?

Aside from feeling that something is stuck in your eye, you may also experience:

  • Excessive tearing
  • Excessive blinking
  • Eye pain
  • A very red eye or eyes
  • Sensitivity to light

How Is a Corneal Foreign Body Removed?

The first step in treating this condition is a thorough examination of the eye area for an accurate diagnosis. Your eye doctor will gently inspect the eye to determine what type of material is lodged in the cornea and how deeply it has penetrated.

If a corneal foreign body is found, the eye doctor will administer local anesthesia in the form of numbing eye drops before removing the foreign body.

Using a slit lamp and specialized tools, the doctor will remove the fragment from the cornea.

After the procedure, you’ll be instructed how to apply topical antibiotics to help prevent infection.

Follow-up eye exams are often required to ensure that your eye is healing normally, without complications. In cases of corneal scarring, further evaluation will be necessary to determine the best treatment or possible scar removal.

At Eye Mechanix, we know and understand accidents happen — and we’re here to help. If you or a loved one has a suspected corneal foreign body or any other eye emergency, call Eye Mechanix in Lincoln Park without delay, or visit your nearest emergency care center.

To schedule your eye exam or find out more about our other eye care services, call Eye Mechanix today!