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Urgent eye problem – corneal foreign body

A foreign body (FB) or a foreign object (FO) can fly into your eye if it is a windy day or you are walking by a building site or working underneath the car, and a piece of rust flies in. Corneal foreign bodies can occur with hammering injuries, and in that situation, there is a much higher risk of a penetrating eye injury.  If you get a corneal foreign body, the first thing you should do is to wash your hands with soap and water and then try and flush the object out of the eye with a gentle stream of clean, warm water.  You can ask somebody else to try and pour this over the eye with it slightly open to wash out the corneal foreign body, or you can use an eyecup or small clean drinking glass positioned on the rim of the orbit and just gently pour some fresh water into the eye.  It is best not to try and remove the embedded corneal foreign body with any instruments, but to let an ophthalmic specialist assess it and remove it for you under topical local anaesthesia if it has not gone away after an hour or two.  Caution: you must not rub the eye, or you could make a worse scratch. Especially please do not try to remove any object that appears to be embedded in the eye or sticking out between the lids just in case it has penetrated and damaged the internal part of the eye and which therefore has to be removed under very special conditions by the Ophthalmologist.

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