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Corneal Foreign Body


  • A corneal foreign body happens when something gets stuck on your cornea. The cornea is the clear outer covering of your eye. A foreign body may scratch the cornea and causes symptoms. A corneal foreign body is a serious problem that needs treatment to prevent eye damage.
    Picture of a normal eye
  • Anything that gets stuck in your eye may cause a corneal foreign body. Tiny pieces of metal, wood, or sand are the most common causes. A feeling that something is in your eye is often the only symptom. Other signs and symptoms may include a painful red eye, tearing, and blurred vision. Treatment includes washing the eye to try to remove the corneal foreign body. If eye washing does not work, instruments may be needed to remove the foreign body. You may need an eye patch on your eye to help it heal.


Take your medicine as directed:

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits.

  • Do not touch your eye with the tip of the bottle or tube if you are using eye drops or ointment. This could scratch your eye or cause an infection. Wash your hands with soap and water before putting medicine in your eye.

Ask your caregiver when to return for a follow-up visit.

Keep all appointments. Write down any questions you may have. This way you will remember to ask these questions during your next visit.

  • Always bring your eye drops and medicines to your follow-up visits. Tell your caregiver if you are using new medicines or eye drops given to you by another caregiver.
  • Ask your caregiver when you can remove the eye patch.
  • Do not loosen or remove the patch. If the tape comes loose, retape it just as it was before.
  • Do not drive or operate equipment while your eye is patched. Your ability to tell how far or how near something or someone is may be impaired.

How I can prevent further injury to my eye:

  • Do not rub your eye or try to remove the foreign body. Try to keep your eye closed until a caregiver checks your eye.
  • Do not wear contact lenses until caregivers tell you it is OK.
  • Always wear safety glasses, eye shields, or goggles when working with power tools, gardening, or playing sports.
  • Do not rub your eyes while working with wood or metal pieces. Small pieces of wood or metal may be on your hands or gloves.


  • You have a fever (increased body temperature).
  • You have trouble seeing.
  • Your have discharge from your eye.
  • You have eye patch problems.
  • Your eye pain does not go away or your eye pain gets worse.


  • You have a sudden loss of vision.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Corneal Foreign Body (Aftercare Instructions)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.