What Should I do if Something is Stuck in my Eye (Foreign Body)

It is important not to rub your eye when something gets into it. The reason is that rubbing may cause scratching and corneal abrasions.

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What Should I do if Something is Stuck in my Eye (Foreign Body) Optometrist

What should I do if a toddler or baby has something stuck in their eye?

In the case that your child gets something in their eyes, make sure that they don't rub them. You can swaddle babies if they get something in their eyes.

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What are the symptoms of foreign bodies in the eyes?

Symptoms of a foreign body in the eye include:

  • A sharp pain followed by burning and irritation in your eye
  • You have a feeling that there is something in your eye
  • Watery and red eye
  • Blinking causes a scratchy feeling
  • The affected eye becomes blurry or loses its sight
  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • An injury that results in bleeding into the white of the eye (subconjunctival hemorrhage).

If you notice any of these symptoms or experience sudden changes in your vision and find it difficult for you to perform your daily activities, please contact your eye doctor.

How do I remove a particle in my eye?

How do I remove a particle in my eye?

If you have something embedded in your eye like a glass fragment, do not try to remove it. Have someone take you to the eye doctor or emergency room and cover both eyes with a wet washcloth.

Remove a loose eyelash, a dirt particle, or an object from your eye by:

  1. Wash your hands before touching your eyes.
  2. Examine your eye in a mirror and look for the object.
  3. Remove the object by trying the following methods:
  • You can try blinking to wash it away with your tears.
  • To remove a particle from behind your upper eyelid, pull the upper lid out and over the lower lid and roll your eye upwards. The particle will be flushed out of the eye after it comes off the upper lid.
  • If the object is under your lower eyelid or in the corner of your eye, use a wet cotton swab or corner of a clean cloth to remove it.
  • You can use a small juice glass or cup filled with lukewarm water. Open your eye and place it over the cup of water to rinse the object out of your eye.
When should you seek professional help?

When should you seek professional help?

In general something stuck in your eye should be looked at by an eye doctor after attempting to follow the steps above. Following are some of the situations which require immediate medical attention:

  • You've been poked in the eye by something.
  • Your eye has been pierced and something is stuck in it. Do not attempt to remove it yourself.
  • When you can't see anything in your eye after trying to get it out, but it still feels like there's something there.
  • Your eye bleeds.
  • You can't close your eye.
  • Despite removing the object, your eye doesn't feel better or gets worse.
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How are foreign objects in the eye treated?

How are foreign objects in the eye treated?

Treatment for foreign objects in the eye depends on what the object is, and how much contact it has made with the eye. Small foreign objects include dust, grit, or an eyelash that can be easily removed at home.

Seek medical attention immediately if there are larger foreign bodies or foreign bodies that have penetrated the eye. A professional eye care provider should be consulted if you have questions about the severity of the injury.

We encourage you to call your eye care clinic. In many cases our eye doctor will want to examine your eye and will schedule you for an emergency eye exam. They may use different kinds of drops in your eyes, such as:

  • Medications that numb your eyes
  • Dye to see if there are any scratches on your eyeballs
  • Medications that enlarge your pupils

It is possible that your doctor will flush the object out of your eye. They may also use needles or other instruments to get it out. When the object penetrates your eyeball and becomes stuck inside your eye, you might have to have a special X-ray or ultrasound done to see where exactly it is. 

A superficial corneal injury can be treated with an ointment. Some eye ointments contain muscle-relaxants or antibiotics . Eye-muscle-relaxants make the pupil dilate a lot, causing the eye to become temporarily more sensitive to light and blurring your vision. You can use a painkiller like ibuprofen to relieve any pain in your eye. Painkillers are available as eye drops or tablets. Antibiotic eye ointment could be prescribed by your doctor to prevent an infection.

Should I patch my eye after having something stuck in it?

Eye patches usually aren't used for minor eye injuries. Studies have shown that they don't speed up the healing process, and could in fact slow it down. Only being able to see through one eye isn't only frustrating, it can also increase the risk of further accidents. You need both eyes to be able to judge how close or far away things are.

How do I remove a particle in my eye?
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Common Questions

If a foreign object remains in the eye, it can cause discomfort, redness, tearing, or even pain. Over time, the risk of complications, such as infection or corneal abrasions, increases. Persistent foreign bodies can lead to vision problems if not addressed. It's crucial to avoid rubbing the eye, as this can further embed the object or cause additional damage.
It's not advisable to try to remove a corneal foreign body at home. The cornea is a delicate structure, and attempting to remove an object without the right tools or expertise can lead to further injury or complications. If a foreign body is suspected, one should avoid rubbing the eye and immediately seek assistance from an optometrist. Home attempts can turn a minor issue into a serious eye emergency.
No, rubbing the eye can be detrimental if a foreign body is present. Rubbing can cause the object to embed deeper into the cornea or other parts of the eye. It can also lead to scratches or abrasions on the corneal surface. Instead of rubbing, it's better to blink several times or rinse the eye gently with clean water. If the foreign body doesn't flush out naturally or if there's persistent discomfort, it's essential to consult an eye doctor.
Metal, especially ferrous (iron-containing) objects, can quickly cause complications if left in the eye. Over time, the metal can rust and lead to a rust ring, further damaging the cornea. Additionally, the risk of infection increases the longer any foreign body remains. Even if discomfort is minimal, metal in the eye is an eye emergency that requires immediate attention.
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To make sure your eye is healing properly and your vision is fine, our eye doctor may need to see you again. Make sure you do not miss this appointment. Although you may feel better, your eye may not have fully healed. A follow-up is needed to ensure the treatment has been effective.

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