We call something in your eye that doesn’t belong there a foreign body. Maybe you were raking leaves or gardening or simply going for a walk on a windy day. And in an instant, one of your eyes feels like something is in it. What next? If you're wearing contact lenses, remove them as soon as possible!
Now the most important rule is “don't rub your eye!” This could result in a corneal abrasion, literally, a scratch on your eye.
Next, wash your hands with soap and water and gently pull your lids apart while looking in a mirror. You might very well see the object in your eye and if that’s the case, try flushing it out with lukewarm water. Using an eyecup or a small glass completely filled, place your open eye directly into the cup or glass. If this doesn’t work, next try positioning your eye under a faucet, allowing a gentle stream of water to flush it out.
If the foreign body is in the corner of the eye, on the white part or under the lower lid and the above methods didn’t work, try gently lifting it off with a wet cotton swab or twisted piece of tissue paper.
There may be some mild discomfort of the eye after the foreign body is removed and using. artificial tears several times a day will help.
Never try to remove a piece of metal from the eye as you may push it deeper into the tissue making it harder for us to remove.
Our office staff will always accommodate you during our normal business hours if you have a foreign body that needs to be removed and we will usually have you drive immediately to our office. If the office is closed, we strongly recommend that you do not go to an emergency room as one of us is always on call nights and weekends and our answering service will reach us.
In a future issue, I’ll discuss what chemicals are damaging to the eye and which ones are only irritating.