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Symptoms of a Foreign Body in the Eye

Foreign body in the eye is the commonest eye related emergency that has been treated by the outpatient or emergency care units in the United States and every one of us would encounter such an event at least several times during our life. But, in most instances, these foreign bodies will be expelled from the eye surface with minimum of intervention and will not leave a permanent scar or complications to the affected eye.

Different instances of foreign body in the eyes:

There are many possible avenues for a foreign body to enter our eyes and these would include, through wind, as a liquid or else through touch. Most of the foreign bodies that we encounter will remain on the surface of the eye whereas in rare instances, a foreign body can penetrate the eye surface as well. Although foreign bodies remaining on the surface can easily be removed and would most often recover without any complications, penetrating foreign bodies can cause persistent damage to the eye and therefore to the vision. Therefore, it is rather important to determine whether a foreign body remains only on the surface of the eye or else have penetrated through the surface into the eye as different approaches might be needed in treating a penetrating type of foreign body.

Symptoms of a foreign body in the eye:

When considering the symptoms of a foreign body in the eye, there can be many and while some symptoms do not cause much of a discomfort, some might be rather painful. It should be noted that, foreign bodies remaining on the surface of the eye can be more painful than the foreign bodies which has penetrated into the eye. Thus, presence or absence of pain could be used in determining the possibility of a penetrating foreign body along with considering the size, speed and other characteristics of the foreign body.

Reddening of the eye and surface irritation would be two other symptoms that we encounter when a foreign body enters the eye and this can remain till the foreign body moves out from the eye and even for few hours afterwards. The discomfort can appear with each blink of the eye in case the foreign body becomes lodged between the eye surface and the inner aspects of an eye lid.

Excessive tearing is another symptom that can be seen in instances of a foreign body in the eye and this can be considered as one of the natural ways the eye tries to expel an unwanted object from the surface of the eye. This would have a flushing effect over the foreign bodies and would also help in minimizing the scarring or damage that a foreign body can cause to the surface of the skin.

Apart from these symptoms, there is a possibility of impairment of vision particularly in the event of a penetrating foreign body which may not be apparent in the acute stage but would be appearing rather late.