Skip to Content

Eye Foreign Body in Children


An eye foreign body (EFB)

is an object that gets stuck in your child's eye. Tiny pieces of metal, dust, wood, and sand are the most common foreign bodies.

Eye Anatomy

Signs and symptoms:

Your child may tell you that he or she feels something in his or her eye. Your child may also have any of the following:

  • Eye pain, redness, or watering
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision or changes in your child's vision

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your child suddenly loses his or her vision.
  • Your child has severe eye pain.

Call your child's doctor or ophthalmologist if:

  • Your child has new or worse eye swelling.
  • Your child's symptoms do not get better, even after the foreign body is removed.
  • Your child has white or yellow fluid draining from his or her eye.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Treatment for an EFB

will include medicines to decrease pain and prevent an infection. Your child's healthcare provider may numb your child's eye. If not already given during the exam, your child may now be given medicine to help him or her feel calm. The provider may flush the eye or use a cotton swab or other tools to help remove the FB. If the FB cannot be removed this way, your child will need surgery to remove it.

Help your child's eye heal:

  • Tell your child not to rub his or her eyes. This may cause more damage or infection.
  • Tell your child not wear his or her contacts lenses until the eye heals. He or she should wear glasses only. This will give your child's eyes time to heal.
  • Have your child wear sunglasses as directed. Sunglasses help protect the eye and decrease sensitivity to light.

Prevent another EFB:

  • Have your child wear protective eyewear. Your child should wear protective eyewear when he or she works with chemicals, metal, or wood. He or she should also wear protective eyewear during sports such as racquetball or swimming. Make sure the eyewear wraps around the sides of your child's face. Do not let your child use regular eye glasses for eye protection. They will not protect your child's eyes from foreign bodies or chemicals.
  • Make sure your child uses contact lenses as directed. Tell your child to wash his or her hands before he or she cleans, inserts, or removes contacts. Your child should insert and remove contact lenses correctly. Have your child clean and change contacts as directed to help prevent eye damage or infection.

Follow up with your child's doctor or ophthalmologist in 1 to 2 days:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

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 Eye Foreign Body in Children (Ambulatory Care)

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

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