When Something’s Stuck in Your Eye

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Dr. S.S. Gill, Consultant Ophthalmologist

Help… Something’s Stuck In My Eye!

It’s not uncommon for the occasional eyelash or makeup to get in your eye. In these instances, the foreign body sits at the superficial layers of the eye and your eye’s natural tears will usually wash the object out.

However, sometimes objects may scratch the surface of the cornea or may become embedded in the eye. Small objects travelling at high speed can cause serious injury to the eyeball. These injuries may cause bleeding, a change in the size or shape of the pupil, or a serious damage to the inside of the eyeball with the foreign body being retained in the eyeball resulting in vision loss.

Symptoms for foreign bodies (medical term) in the eye may include the following: sharp pain followed by burning, irritation, tearing, and redness in your eye; feeling that something is in your eye when moving your eye around while it is closed; scratching sensation over your eye when blinking; blurred vision or vision loss in the affected eye after doing any form of mechanical work; bleeding in your eye.

Self-Care at Home

For minor foreign bodies, home care should be adequate. But if you have trouble removing something in your eye or if a larger or sharper object is involved, you should seek medical attention. If you are wearing a contact lens, it should be removed prior to trying to remove the foreign body. Do not wear the contact lens until your eye is completely healed.

To remove minor debris, try rinsing your eye with a saline solution (the same solution used to rinse contact lenses). Tap water or distilled water may be used if no saline solution is available immediately.

If washing out your eye is not successful, the object can usually be removed with the tip of a sterile cotton swab. Do not rub your eye or to apply any pressure to your eye.

Seek professional medical attention immediately when: You feel something going into your eye after hitting something, such as hammering a nail; You have removed the foreign body from your eye and continue to have a sensation that something is in your eye, or you continue to have pain and tearing after removal of the object; You are unable to remove the foreign body from your eye; Your vision is blurry or otherwise compromised (e.g., blind spots, seeing “stars”).

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Eye protection is the best prevention. Always wear safety goggles, or face shields when working in an environment where flying debris is likely, for instance working with power tools or chemicals. Eye protection should cover not only the front but also the side of your eyes. Regular sunglasses are not sufficient eye protection when working in a high-risk environment. You should wear goggles or safety glasses with side shields.

For more information, contact Gill Eye Specialist Centre at 05-5455582,
email: gilleyecentre@dr.com or visit www.fatimah.com.my.