A to Z: Foreign Body, Eye

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A to Z: Foreign Body, Eye

Our eyelids and eyelashes usually keep objects (or foreign bodies) such as dust out of the eye, but sometimes things get through.

More to Know

To prevent damage to the eye, any object that isn't washed out right away by tears must be removed. The foreign body can be removed from the eye either with irrigation (washing with water) or a small sterile instrument. A harmless dye (fluorescein) is usually applied to the eye's surface to help the doctor see the object. This dye temporarily stains tears, nasal drainage, and sometimes the skin around the eye.

Keep in Mind

For 24-72 hours, someone who has had a foreign body removed from the eye may continue to feel like there's something in the eye, have slightly blurry vision, or be sensitive to light. This happens because an object sometimes leaves a small scratch on the eye's surface, which the doctor can see with the fluorescein dye. Symptoms usually improve overnight, but can last a few days as the scratch heals.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.



Related Resources

OrganizationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.
Web SiteEyeCare America EyeCare America is a public service foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology that works to raise awareness about eye disease and care, provide free eye health educational materials, and facilitate access to medical eye care.


Related Articles

Eye Injuries You can treat many minor eye irritations by flushing the eye, but more serious injuries require medical attention.
Corneal Abrasions Corneal abrasions, which are common among kids, happen when something gets into the eye. Though sometimes painful, they're rarely serious and usually heal within a few days.
Eyes The eyes are small compared with most of the body's other organs, but their structure is incredibly complex. Learn more about eyes, vision, and common problems with both.
Styes A stye is a backed-up oil gland in the eyelid. Styes are usually easy to get rid of.
Pinkeye (Conjunctivitis) Pinkeye, or conjunctivitis, is the most common eye infection affecting kids. Learn more about pinkeye and how to prevent it from spreading.




Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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