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Home :: Eye, Foreign Body In

Foreign Body in the Eye

A foreign body is an object in your eye that shouldn't be there, such as a speck of dust, wood chip, metal shaving, insect or piece of glass. The common places to find a foreign body are under the eyelid or on the surface of your eye.

This is particularly likely to occur in athletes who cycle, labourers, woodcutters, fitters, wrestle, or play football, soccer or any other field event.


  • Windy weather.
  • Sports activity in which the eye may come into contact with any foreign material.

Signs and symptoms

  • Severe pain, irritation and redness in the eye.
  • Sensitivity to bright lights.
  • Foreign body visible with the naked eye (usually). Sometimes the foreign body is small, trapped under the eyelid and invisible except with medical examination.
  • Scratchy feeling when blinking.


The evaluation includes vision testing along with careful examination of the surface of the eye with a slit lamp microscope .  When a superficial foreign body is suspected, the upper lid should be gently turned up to check underneath for trapped particles.  If the foreign body is difficult to see even with a microscope, the doctor may instill a drop of fluorescein dye to highlight the area.  

An examination inside the eye with ophthalmoscopy may also be indicated depending on the severity of the injury. 


Medical Treatment

  • If a foreign body is seen in the eye, it may be removed with a small cotton applicator or by washing the eye out with saline.
  • An antibiotic ointment may be placed in the eye.

Your doctor may prescribe:

  • Antibiotic eye drops or ointment to prevent infection or to dilate the pupil.
  • Pain relievers.
  • Local anesthetic eyedrops

Home Treatment

  • Ask someone else to drive you to the doctor's office. Don't try to drive.
  • Don't rub the eye.
  • Keep both eyes closed, if possible, until you are examined.
  • To protect your eye from bright light, wear an eye patch or dark glasses for 24 hours after treatment.
  • Use moist compresses to relieve discomfort after removal. Prepare by folding a clean cloth in several layers. Dip in warm water, wring out slightly and apply to the eye. Dip the compress often to keep it moist. Apply the compress for 1 hour, rest 1 hour and repeat.
  • Wear protective eye coverings if possible.
  • Don't stand or walk near anyone who is grinding or drilling.

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Disclaimer: website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always take the advice of professional health care for specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. We will not be liable for any complications, or other medical accidents arising from the use of any information on this web site. Please note that medical information is constantly changing. Therefore some information may be out of date.