Anything that enters the eye from outside and causes inflammation or irritation, or even an abrasion, among varied other problems, can be termed as a foreign body. This foreign body usually ends up having an effect on the conjunctiva or the cornea. While the cornea is the outer layer that protects the eye, the conjunctiva is the membrane that covers the white portion of the eye.
Here are a few ways for understanding and treating the entry of foreign objects into the eye:
- Symptoms: To begin with, one must understand the symptoms so as to recognise the problem. A feeling of pressure or discomfort will be experienced by the patient, who will feel as though something is preventing him or her from shutting the eye properly. At the same time, too much tear formation and pain in the eyes will also point at the entry of the foreign object while redness and bloodshot eyes are also a common sight at such instances. The patient may be forced to blink at more than the normal rate, while glares of light will create pain and discomfort.
- Causes: There are many kinds of foreign objects that can enter the eyes including fine substances like saw dust, dirt, grime, dust, sand and even the dust of cosmetics. Also, eye lashes, dried mucus, shards of glass and metal particles may enter the eyes and create an emergency situation. When the wind sweeps debris up, it may fall into a person's eyes and settle there.
- Prompt Action: As soon as you feel like something has entered your eye and does not seem to be leaving it even after continuous blinking, then you will need to see a doctor in the Emergency Unit of your hospital. Do not rub your eyes at all, as the foreign object may cause cuts inside and lead to bleeding and other complications. You must take special care to notice whether or not the object in the eye is sharp and is preventing you from shutting your eye properly, in which case immediate medical intervention and diagnosis will be required.
- Treating the Foreign Object: With the aim of removing this object, the doctor may administer anaesthetic drops before using a fluorescein dye to find out what kind of object has entered. A moist cotton swab will be used for removal and an antibiotic ointment will be prescribed for any cuts. Acetaminophen can treat the pain while a CT scan can investigate any intraocular object.
You can also use a wet cloth to rinse and remove the object at home, but blurry vision and pain must be taken to an ophthalmologist immediately.