Health Questions and Answers

QUESTION: What is the best approach for evaluating and removing superficial foreign bodies from the eye?


Patients generally report a foreign-body sensation associated with tearing and conjunctival injection. Meticulous examination of the eye is done under magnification (i.e., loupe or slit-lamp), including eversion of both lids to look for foreign bodies in the conjunctival sacs. If a foreign body is not visualized., the inner aspects of the lids are swept with a moist cotton swab, or the eye is irrigated gently with normal saline. Fluorescein staining and examination under blue light should reveal corneal abrasions, which may present with the same symptoms as a foreign body. The safest way to remove corneal or conjunctival foreign bodies is with an eye spud or moist cotton swab under direct magnification. Rust tings may require removal with a hand-held burr.

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