First Aid Treatment for a Foreign Body in the Eye

First Aid Treatment for a Foreign Body in the Eye

Our eyes are delicate and vulnerable to contamination from foreign bodies such as grit, dust, metal, and other small objects. Wearing appropriate eye protection is essential when carrying out tasks that may cause eye injuries. A foreign body in the eye can cause permanent damage to the victim's vision and increase the risk of infection developing in the eye. Superficial foreign bodies that have not penetrated into the eyeball can often be washed out with running water or eyewash. If the surface of the eye is damaged or has been penetrated by the object, then specialist medical help will always be required to prevent loss of sight. A foreign body in the eye can scratch the surface of the eye (known as the cornea) and cause symptoms for several days after the object has been removed. Our eyes are precious and damage to vision can have serious longterm consequences for a victim. It is always best to seek advice and undergo a professional eye examination to ensure the foreign body has not damaged the eye.

Signs and Symptoms of a Foreign Body in the Eye

◾ A gritty sensation when blinking

◾ Pain, worse when moving the eye

◾ Eye watering

◾ Bloodshot eye

◾ Visual disturbance or loss of vision

First Aid Treatment for a Foreign Body in the Eye

1. Attempt to flush out the object using running clean water or sterile eyewash solution (see Appendix A: First Aid Techniques).

2. Do not rub the affected eye or attempt to remove the object with tweezers or a cotton swab.

3. If the object is large or sharp or you are unable to remove it quickly, seek medical advice.

Seek urgent medical attention if the object appears to have penetrated the eyeball or there are any problems with vision.

Watch Out for Arc Eye

Arc eye (also called welder's flash) is a painful eye condition caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from welding. The UV light causes a flash burn to the back of the eye, and the symptoms can mimic a foreign body in the eye with pain and a gritty sensation. Medical assistance is required in order to examine the eye carefully and antibiotic drops may be needed to prevent an infection from developing.

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