Useful Tips

How to remove a foreign body from the eye


A foreign body in the eye is a very unpleasant sensation. Those who have come across this try to pull it out as quickly as possible. But not everyone knows how to do this on their own at home. Read about it in our article.

What is meant by the term “foreign body” in the eye

Ophthalmologists by the term "foreign body" mean a certain small object that gets into the eye, most often on the eyeball - the conjunctiva. At the same time, such an object can either remain on the surface of the eyeball, or penetrate deep into its tissues.

The following small objects are usually referred to foreign bodies:

  • hairs, villi,
  • dust particles, fluffs,
  • small insects
  • parts of plants (herbs, cereals, trees, etc.),
  • grains of sand, lumps of earth,
  • metal shavings.

If it enters the eye, a foreign body necessarily violates the integrity of the surface epithelium of the eyeball.

Symptoms of a foreign body entering the eye

To know for sure whether something has got into the eye or not, you need to know the most common symptoms, which are the response of the human body to a foreign body:

  1. Pain in the form of pain.
  2. Lacrimation.
  3. Irritation.
  4. Redness of the entire eyeball.

Now a little more about those discomfort that the victim feels. Firstly, it is a constant desire to cover the injured eye. Secondly, the body itself tries to get rid of a small object that has got into the eye with the help of a natural reaction - lacrimation. Therefore, when you open your eyes, objects that fall into the field of view, a person sees blurry through a veil of tears. A foreign body has the ability to move along the surface of the eyeball. And if it happens that somewhere is delayed, then this happens most often under the upper eyelid. In this case, only a doctor can pull it out by turning the upper eyelid.

How to independently determine that a foreign body has entered the eye

If you detect symptoms of a foreign object getting into the eye, you can make a mistake with the diagnosis, as some eye diseases have similar symptoms (for example, episiscleritis is an inflammatory process in the outer layer of the sclera of the eye). Therefore, it is advisable to seek the advice of a qualified specialist - an ophthalmologist. Using special devices, he will make an appropriate diagnosis and, if the need arises, remove a foreign object from the eye. Medical diagnosis is carried out in two ways:

  • biomicroscopy
  • background lighting.

At home, you can independently determine the foreign body with the help of bright lighting directed directly to the injured eye. This is the only way to notice a foreign object on the surface of the eyeball.

How to get a foreign object out of your eye yourself

The most effective way to extract a small object from the eye is based on the instincts of the human body. This is a frequent blink. Blinking, you can feel how the interfering object has moved to the inner corner of the eye. Now it remains to do the washing with clean warm water.

The second way is to mechanically remove the speck with your fingers. But this must be done carefully so as not to damage the surface of the eyeball. To do this, it is very important to adhere to the following instructions:

  1. With your thumb and forefinger, open your eyelids as far apart as possible.
  2. Keep the eyelids apart until the moment of abundant lacrimation.
  3. A tear will wash away a foreign object from the surface of the eye.

Another way to self-extract a foreign object from the eye is also with your fingers. It lies in the fact that the upper eyelid of the injured eye is pulled to the lower. How does this help? Cilia of the lower eyelid will move the item to a more convenient place for extraction. But one such attempt may not be enough, and this procedure will have to be done a couple of times. If a foreign body has already moved from the upper eyelid to the lower one, then it will not be difficult to remove it with a conventional wipe.

Recommendations of specialists: what can not be done when removing a foreign body from the eye

If it was not possible to pull out a foreign body when using the above methods, you should immediately consult a doctor. Ophthalmologists give a number of tips for extracting foreign objects from the eyes:

  1. Do not flattery the eyes with dirty fingers.
  2. Do not touch the eyeball with a hard object (such as tweezers).
  3. You can not actively rub your eyes, making maximum efforts.

Be sure to proceed with caution when removing a foreign body from the eye, while all movements must be accurate and unhurried.

How to remove mote from the eye correctly and safely?

Any foreign object, even having microscopic dimensions, getting into the eye, instantly causes discomfort, burning, itching and redness. Especially this effect is enhanced if contact lenses are installed on the eyes. The first thing a person tries to do with such a problem is to get a foreign object out of his eye. Here you can make a lot of mistakes leading to the aggravation of the situation. How to remove mote from the eye?

How to make sure that there is a speck in the eye?

You do not have to be a specialist in order to understand that a foreign body has entered your eye. Often this is an insect, hair, cilia, grain of sand, a microscopic fragment of glass or other material, as well as other objects with sharp edges. Regardless of the nature of the foreign object that has hit the surface of the eye, this phenomenon is accompanied by the same symptoms. The most striking signs of the problem are listed below:

· Pain in the eye, which intensifies with blinking and changing the direction of view.

· Strong burning and irritation of the eye, the desire to constantly rub the eye due to severe itching.

Redness of the surface of the eye in which the speck is located, an unpleasant sensation of pressure.

· Blurred vision, the appearance of a veil in front of the eye, an increase in lacrimation.

· Increased photosensitivity, when looking at light sources, the eye begins to water very much.

· Bleeding or subconjunctival hemorrhage in the eyeball, pain.

If you have one or several of the above symptoms at the same time, and you don’t wear contact lenses, it means that a foreign object has a high probability of getting into your eye. If such an object enters the eye at high speed, for example, when driving in vehicles without safety glasses or a helmet, it can cause serious eye injury. In this case, emergency assistance from a specialist will be required.

If a foreign body enters the eye that does not leave it with increased blinking, it will be necessary to take special measures to remove a foreign object from the eye. This can be done in domestic conditions, but you need to properly prepare and correctly perform the procedure. Otherwise, you can only do harm. We will examine in detail what needs to be done in order to cleanse the eye of objects without serious consequences.

What measures to take before removal?

The very first thing that needs to be done before proceeding to cleanse the eyes of a foreign object that has got into it is to take care of hand hygiene. If you perform the procedure with dirty hands, you can get a lot of problems, including infection of the organs of vision with an infection. Also, cleaning the eyes without prior hand hygiene can lead to the introduction of new foreign bodies on the cornea and conjunctiva. Hand hygiene before removing the mote from the eye will not take you too much time. It is enough to wash your hands with soap in clean water, and then wipe them thoroughly with a dry towel. Wipe your hands with alcohol and alcohol-containing substances is not recommended, since the contact of alcohol and the surface of the eye in 100% of cases causes severe irritation to the organs of vision. This will only interfere with your procedure.

The correct mote removal instruction

In fact, there is nothing complicated in correctly and without negative consequences removing the speck that got into the eye. You can start the procedure immediately after you make sure that your hands are clean and dry. Follow the algorithm below to remove a foreign body without pain:

1. Open the warm water supply, fold your palms together to form a handful, and draw a small amount of water into it. Open your eyes wide and rinse your face thoroughly in this position. If a foreign object that has fallen on the surface of the eye is an ordinary speck of dust, even at this stage it will be washed far beyond the limits of the organ. Immediately after that you will feel relief.

2. If washing with open eyes did not bring the expected result, then there is not a speck of dust in the eye, but something more serious. Special measures will be required. Stand in front of the mirror so that you can clearly see the injured eye. Gently pull the lower eyelid and see if there is a foreign object there. Usually, specks that fall into the eye accumulate there. If this is the case in your case, take a cotton swab dipped in water and carefully remove the foreign object from under the eyelid. Once this is done, wash yourself with warm water with your eyes open. This completes the procedure.

3. Is there nothing under the lower eyelid? Most likely the foreign object fell not under the lower, but under the upper eyelid. This is a more serious problem, to cope with which is difficult on its own, but still real. Take the upper eyelid and gently move it in different directions until the speck itself falls out of there. Often the cause of discomfort is the eyelashes themselves, which are tucked under the upper eyelid. If you spread the eyelashes of the upper eyelid, then the discomfort instantly disappears.

4. If there is nothing under the upper and lower eyelids, you can go for a simple trick. Draw a little warm water into a basin of such a size that your head fits in it. Open your eyes and plunge into a basin filled with water so that the eyes are completely inside. Now blink a few times, while looking alternately in different directions. If the mote lies on the surface of the eye, blinking in warm water will certainly help to cope with the situation and get rid of discomfort.

5. A metal object lying on the surface of the eye in direct line of sight can be removed with a magnet. To do this, bring the magnet to the eye so that it grabs a foreign object. However, this is a very controversial method, which should be used only if the speck lies on the surface of the eye, and not stuck into it. Otherwise, much damage will be done to the cornea and other elements of the eye.

If none of the above methods has brought the desired effect, then everything is more serious than you might think. In this case, it is recommended to immediately contact an experienced ophthalmologist. He will conduct an examination, detect a foreign body and take the necessary measures to remove it. In no case should you let the problem drift, as this can lead to inflammation of the tissues of the eye and other troubles.

What to do if the speck got into the eye at home

Often foreign objects fall into the eyes when a person is at a great distance from home, and indeed from civilization. For example, such situations arise in hiking, on excursions in the deserts and mountains. A similar problem can spoil your eyesight in any other place where you cannot apply the algorithm of actions described above. What to do in this case? Following these recommendations will help:

· If there is no clear water nearby that can be used to rinse the eyeball to remove mote, wait a few seconds. Usually this time is more than enough to start a strong lacrimation. This is a natural reaction of the body to the ingestion of a foreign object in the eye. If the speck is not firmly attached to the eye, it will quickly come out with tears.

· When you are sure that the body that got into the eye did not injure the cornea, you can use another simple way to remove the mote. Carefully rub your eye with your hand in the direction from ear to nose. If everything is done correctly, after several such movements, the foreign object will leave the limits of the eye along with tears. Important - rub your eyes very gently and only with clean hands.

· Friction and profuse lacrimation does not help you cope with trouble? Do not despair, there is another way to get rid of discomfort in the field. To do this, gently take the upper eyelid by the eyelashes and pull it up, then quickly blink, with a look towards the nose. A similar manipulation, but with pulling down, must be carried out with the lower eyelid.

If all the measures taken have not led to success, and negative manifestations are increasing, urgent measures must be taken immediately. A blindfold is applied to both eyes - this is necessary in order to prevent the injured eye from moving with the healthy eye, thereby exacerbating the damage to oneself. If possible, the eye should be instilled with albucid or eye drops containing an antibiotic. In the very near future, try to get an appointment with an ophthalmologist.

What can not be done if a speck hit the eye?

The most serious mistake that people make in the eye is a mote - they do not attach much importance to this, naively believing that everything will go away by itself. Of course, this situation also has a place to be, since ordinary dust particles and hairs independently go beyond the eye, along with tears. But if a foreign object is seriously stuck on the surface of the eyeball, giving up on it with your hand is a mistake.

If a solid sharp object, for example, metal shavings or a piece of glass acts as an extraneous body in the eye, in no case should you rub your eye. Any careless movement in such a situation is likely to result in serious injury to the eyeball, which can subsequently lead to loss or severe visual impairment. What to do in such a situation? Contact an ophthalmologist immediately.

In no case can you use any kind of objects to remove mote from the eye. An exception is a cotton swab soaked in water or a handkerchief. Pens, pencils, keys, and other sharp objects cannot be used to extract the mote. Not only will any inaccurate movement harm the eye, you can sneeze involuntarily during the procedure. The hand twitches, you can severely damage the organ of vision.

How to prevent objects from getting into the eye?

You don’t have to wear a motorcycle helmet, mask or goggles all your life in order to prevent an unpleasant situation such as dropping a mote or insect into the eye. However, it is still possible and even necessary to take measures to prevent the ingestion of a foreign body in the eye so that you do not have to use the tips mentioned above. There are several recommendations, following which will protect you from the specks in the eye:

· When a strong wind rises outside, put on sunglasses (if the season allows), and if this is not possible, lower your head down, your eyes should lie in the same direction or be turned sideways. This is especially true for residents of the southern regions, where sand is caught in the air.

· If small insects such as mosquitoes, midges and small flies swarm nearby, try to avoid them, just in case, covering your eyes with your hand. It is not recommended to brush off small insects - this not only does not bring the desired result, but also provokes the insects to move more actively.

· When carrying out repairs, put a hat on the head with a visor. It will prevent dust, whitewash, paint and other small particles from getting into the head, including in the eyes. If possible, use eye protection glasses. The same applies to people working in workshops.

· When on the street you pass by existing construction sites, working lawn mowers and roads covered with gravel, be sure to turn your eyes away from them. Not only small particles can fly into the eyes, but also large stones, objects and debris, which can cause serious damage to the organs of vision.

If you use soft contact lenses, then before performing manipulations aimed at removing a foreign body from the eye, first of all, remove contact lenses and make sure their integrity. It is possible that discomfort is caused by mechanical damage to the lens, its fragment or incorrect position on the cornea of ​​the eye. In this case, it is better to throw out one-day lenses and after fixing the problem, install a new pair. Rinse lenses with a long shelf life using multifunctional solution and place in a container. It is possible that a foreign body can be removed along with a contact lens. Если Вы, в дальнейшем, будете устанавливать вновь те же линзы, которые использовали до попадания в глаз инородного тела, обратите внимание, на чистоту поверхности линз и отсутствие посторонних включений.

Now you know what measures you need to urgently take in order to get rid of the mote that got into the eye. If you are not sure that you can cope with the problem on your own, immediately contact an ophthalmologist. Remember that with sight, jokes are bad. Eyes are very sensitive organs, the damage of which is often simply irreversible. Protect your eyesight and remove specks from your eyes correctly!

Symptoms of the presence of a foreign body in the eye

The shell of the eyeball is very sensitive, when a speck enters the eye, characteristic symptoms immediately appear.

However, depending on the type of damage and the nature of the foreign body, the intensity of the symptoms can range from subtle discomfort in the eye to extreme pain.

We list the main symptoms when a foreign body enters the eye:

  • discomfort, pain and burning, a foreign body sensation in the eye,
  • corneal redness
  • lacrimation
  • photophobia,
  • difficulty opening the century,
  • decreased vision
  • bleeding from the superficial ocular vessels.

Causes of foreign body contact with the eye

The reasons for the appearance of a foreign body in the eye are many, the main ones are as follows:

  • Industrial Injuries may occur during work on machines for processing wood, metal, etc. In case of violation of safety rules and the absence of protective clothing, goggles, metal or wood shavings at high speed can fly into the shell of the eye and seriously injure it.
  • Hygiene. Most often this applies to young children who like to rub their eyes with dirty hands and can thus bring into the eyes foreign grit or mote.
  • Incorrect contact lens wear. If the rules of use are not observed, it is possible to violate the integrity of the contact lenses themselves, or to get various specks in the eye together with the lenses, which causes a foreign body sensation in the eye. Moreover, there is an individual intolerance to lenses when a person constantly perceives them as a foreign body in the eye.
  • Putting on and taking off woolen clothes. Careless putting on woolen dresses or sweaters over the head can cause the fibers to fall into the shell of the eye.
  • Strong gusts of windlifting sand and other debris from the ground that may get into the shell of the eyes.


Trying to find a source of discomfort, an ophthalmologist examines the fundus, the shell of the eye, the cavity of the upper and lower eyelids.

Finding a foreign body in the eye will help examination with a slit lamp. With internal damage to the eye, an ophthalmoscope, x-ray or ultrasound of the eye is used.

If a grain of sand cannot be seen with a routine test, then an ophthalmologist uses special eye drops with a coloring agent. This helps to see the location of the speck and remove it in a timely manner.

Removal of a foreign body from the cornea

Wooden, glass and metal pieces falling on the cornea, within a few hours after their stay, can cause infiltration, and then suppuration. Clarification of the diagnosis is carried out using diaphanoscopy (transmission through a light bulb) and biomicroscopy (slit lamp). Then an anesthetic is instilled into the eye, and the foreign body is removed with special tools.

Removal of a foreign body from the cavity of the eye

Fortunately, foreign bodies enter the eye cavity quite rarely. Such trauma can lead to clouding of the vitreous humor, degeneration, and retinal detachment. Foreign bodies inside the eye are removed surgically. A small fragment of a foreign body in the eye is removed with tweezers or a magnet through an incision in the sclera or cornea.

Helpful hints:

  • so that foreign particles do not clog your eyes, be sure to use safety glasses when carrying out agricultural or carpentry work,
  • if a foreign object enters the eye (wooden shavings, metal, pieces of glass), do not try to blink or rub your eyelid, this will lead to even more damage to your organ of vision,
  • self-extracting a speck can contribute to the appearance of an intraocular infection or the formation of a rough scar on the eye.

Highly qualified ophthalmologists at the MedicCity Clinic will provide the necessary assistance when a foreign body enters the eye. We conduct all research and medical procedures on expert-level equipment! We know how to make your eyes healthy!

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What is the danger of getting into the eye of a foreign body

The degree of danger of a foreign body entering the eye depends on its shape, size and location. The least danger is a foreign body that has fallen into the conjunctival sac and does not have sharp edges (a sharp object can damage the sclera or cornea). If a foreign body before moving into the eye moved at a very high speed, then once inside it, it can cause great harm by piercing the membranes of the eye and penetrating through them into the eyeball, lens, or vitreous.

A foreign body in the eye can cause:

  • Inflammatory reactions - conjunctivitis, uveitis, blepharitis, keratitis,
  • Mechanical or toxic damage to the eye,
  • Hemorrhages and secondary complications - glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachment.

With prolonged exposure to a foreign object, complications such as inflammation of the inner membranes of the eye, purulent corneal ulcer, corneal dystrophy, glaucoma, removal of the eyeball, and blindness are possible.

In composition, foreign bodies can be magnetic (iron-containing) and non-magnetic (earth, sand, glass, etc.). If the foreign body contains iron or copper, this can cause metallosis - a reaction in which the toxic effect of the metal on the eye tissue can lead to a circular narrowing of the visual field, twilight blindness and subsequently possible partial loss of vision.

Foreign body sensation in the eye

The sensation of a foreign body in the eye is familiar to everyone - specks, sand, small midges often get into the eyes. The same feeling sometimes appears when using contact lenses, as they can cause damage to the surface structures of the eye. Incorrect lenses, non-compliance with their sterility, wearing for a long time, not removed lenses during sleep lead to this. All this also entails a sensation of a foreign object in the eye.

Symptoms of a foreign object in the eye include:

  • Discomfort, pain, burning,
  • Redness and tearing,
  • Increased pain when opening the eye,
  • Soft tissue swelling,
  • Blurred vision
  • Painful sensitivity to bright light.

It should be remembered that any foreign object in the eye is a threat to the function of vision and you need to remove it in the shortest period of time. In some cases, the sensation of a foreign body in the eye may not appear, but if there is a suspicion of getting a foreign object inside the eye, you should definitely consult a doctor. It is sometimes impossible to determine the presence of a foreign body with the naked eye.

Removal of a foreign body from the eye

Removing a foreign object from the eye can sometimes be done at home, if in the mirror you see a particle of dust or an eyelash falling out, try to carefully remove it from the eye with a clean handkerchief or cotton swab. You can also try to rinse the eye with plenty of clean water at room temperature or use the natural method of removing a foreign body from the eye - lacrimation, to do this, gently lift the upper eyelid and hold it in this position until tears appear. If after everything you have done, you continue to feel a foreign body in the eye, be sure to consult a doctor.

If a foreign object - a particle of metal, glass, wood or other material - has entered the eye, the following precautions must be taken so as not to damage the eye and to press a foreign body into its internal departments:

  • Do not press on the eye, do not rub it,
  • You can’t blink, you need to keep your eyes closed, if possible without opening it,
  • As soon as possible, consult a doctor and tell him what you did, what material you worked with.

If a foreign object in the eye is superficial, then the ophthalmologist carries out the removal of a foreign body from the eye directly in his office using a slit lamp (special microscope), after having dripped the eye with anesthetic drops. With very small foreign body sizes, the eye is instilled with eye drops containing fluorescein, a special dye that allows the doctor to easily detect and remove the foreign body. After its removal, for minor injuries of the cornea, an eye ointment with antibiotics is prescribed, for major injuries, drops dilating the pupil, such as a 1% solution of atropine, are prescribed. Also, the injured eye is instilled with antibacterial eye drops and a bandage is applied for three days to prevent light from entering it.

With an intraocular foreign body, when there is a violation of the integrity of the structures of the eye, surgical intervention is necessary.

The best prophylaxis for such eye injuries is the use of goggles during locksmith, carpentry, and many other works that are fraught with the risk of a foreign body entering the eye. Take care of your eyesight!