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Foreign objects in the eye can range from the occasional eyelash to a sliver of wood flying from a woodworking project. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may or may not need to see our eye doctor at Crystal Vision Center to take care of the problem. For instance, eyelashes or bits of sand may be painful, but you can easily wash them out with a stream of saline solution. More serious damage, however, should always be left to the professionals.
The best way to deal with foreign bodies is to prevent them before they even happen. No one can protect your eyes against the occasional stray eyelash. But when you do any sort of work that involves flying bits of material, proper eye protection is crucial. Wear safety glasses or goggles when doing woodworking, metal working, or any other craft with a potential for flying debris.
For minor eye objects, home eye care is all you need. If you wear contact lenses, remove the lens before you proceed with the treatment, and don't put the lens back in until the eye has healed.
Washing the eye is the simple solution that works most often. Direct a stream of saline solution, the same used for rinsing contact lenses, into the eye. The solution will rinse the eye and flush away the object. If you don't have any saline solution handy, any source of clean running water will do. Try a water fountain, cups of water poured into your eye, a garden hose with a small stream or even the stream from a shower. Allow water to flow over your eyeball and blink continuously until the object of washed away.
If washing doesn't work, you may be able to have someone gently remove the object with a tissue or cotton swab. Have them pull the eyelid away and very gently dab on the object to dislodge it. If it doesn't come off right away, see the eye doctor. It may be too serious for home care to cure.
All foreign bodies that are sharp, made of metal, or seem to have penetrated the eyeball should never be treated at home. Go to the eye doctor immediately to prevent further damage to your eye.
Once our eye doctor removes the object from your eye, there may be damage done that needs to be treated. If you have corneal scratches, you'll need antibiotic eye drops or ointment, and possibly an eye patch. Other serious damage such as a ruptured eyeball may call for surgery to save your eyesight.
If your child has any foreign body in the eye more serious than an eyelash, it's best to see the eye doctor to prevent further damage. Children will rub their affected eyes more often, which can lead to corneal scratching.
If you have any questions about foreign objects in your eye, or to make an appointment with our optometrist in College Station, call Crystal Vision Center at 979-705-7313. Our knowledgeable staff is happy to answer any concerns you may have.