During daily work and life activities, the eye is exposed to environmental influences and various foreign bodies such as dust, sand, flies and insect wings, up to small metal parts can enter. When there is a foreign body, it can stick to the cornea, conjunctiva or “hide” under the upper lid.
Symptoms include a foreign body sensation, redness, tearing, and blurred vision, sensitivity to light, stinging, and pain that increases with each eye movement.
If you are not able to immediately contact your ophthalmologist, who with the appropriate equipment will safely remove the foreign body, the following recommendations will be in an inevitable situation.
What not to do:
- Do not try to remove a foreign body that is stuck to the cornea;
- Do not attempt to remove a body that has penetrated deeper into the eye;
- Although it will cause you to itch, under no circumstances should you scratch it as you may scratch the surface of the eye.
What to do:
- Wash your hands with soap and water;
- Try rinsing your eye with a jet of warm clean water, with a small clean cup that you place on your face so that the tip is placed on the bone around your eye;
- If you wear contact lenses, it is best to remove them before or during water cleaning. Sometimes the foreign body may end up below the surface of the contact lens.
Most injuries are mild and go away without complications when treated properly. A complication that can most often occur is an infection if the foreign body is not removed or scratches (erosion) of the cornea. Metal objects react with rust around the metal. Most injuries of this type, when properly treated, heal within 48 hours. If the corneal scratches are not treated, a deeper defect, a scar, can form, which will permanently reduce vision.
Apart from superficial injuries and foreign bodies, the perforating foreign bodies, i.e. the foreign bodies that penetrate the eyeball and enter the inside of the eye, are much more serious and paradoxically much less painful. They require much more serious treatment, usually surgery. These are objects that move at high speed and are made of metal.
The best way to prevent a foreign body from entering the eye is to wear goggles when working in dusty and windy regions, especially when working with wood or metal shavings. Goggles should be fully attached and with side shields. Normal sunglasses or prescription glasses are not adequate protection.