Foreign Body Removal

How Our Phoenix Optometrist Helps When Something’s Stuck in Your Eye

If you’ve ever had anything get stuck in your eye, you know how it stops you in your tracks. Suddenly, you can’t think about anything other than the pain — sometimes sharp and searing. Sometimes, you rub or flush your eye, and whatever it was works itself out (best case scenario). But there’s real danger of something being trapped in there.

If foreign bodies (think metal, rust, dirt, etc.) get stuck in the cornea, you can end up with an eye infection — or even permanent damage. Fast and appropriate treatment is key to making sure your vision stays intact.

When accidents happen, don’t you want an eye doctor you can trust to take great care of you? Imagine the relief you’d feel knowing where to go quickly for help in Phoenix.

Removing something stuck on your eye sounds awful. But an experienced eye doctor like Dr. Balocca does it all the time. (Honestly, more often than he’d like!) We don’t like to think about accidents, but they can send you straight to the eye doctor. Whether you’re a welder or get dirt in your eye while gardening, you can trust us to solve your eye care problems here at Eye On Health.

When you have vision or eye-related concerns, come experience the Eye On Health Difference!

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What You’ll Feel When Something’s Stuck in Your Eye

Eye irritation often happens instantly when something enters any layer of the cornea. More symptoms may come on gradually if something small continues to stay caught in the eye, like an eyelash. You may experience:

  • Pain
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Watery and red eye
  • Burning sensation
  • Feeling like something is in your eye

All of these symptoms are very similar to dry eye—  but usually happen suddenly when an object gets stuck in your eye. When you’re unsure and suffering, having a complete eye exam by a caring optometrist in the Phoenix area is the best decision you can make. Taking action quickly can protect your eye health and vision.

Please call (480) 809-0550 right away if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms!

Understanding The Cornea & How Particles Affect It

Our eyes are as complicated as they are amazing. When something like a wood chip stops us cold, we realize how much we take them for granted. Let’s talk about the cornea, so we better understand what it means when an unwanted foreign object gets in there. 

This thin membrane is responsible for allowing light to enter our eyes. The cornea is also one of the main ways our eyes focus. It’s composed of multiple layers that all work together for us to see well. 

When you need an expert optometrist to remove something from your eye — with the risk of possible vision damage — it helps to understand how each layer maintains our vision and eye comfort.

5 Layers of the Cornea

1. Corneal Epithelium

This outermost layer of the cornea continually produces and sheds cells. (Think moisture-control.) This process regulates moisture across the eye — vital for continual comfort and clear vision.

2. Bowman’s Layer

This next layer, filled with connective tissue, helps bind its neighboring layers (epithelium & stroma) together. It acts as a barrier to protect the next important layer.

If that thing in your eye scratches your first two layers (corneal abrasion), you’re less likely to experience permanent damage.

3. Corneal Stroma

Connective tissue and collagen filament fill this thick layer. Its perfect arrangement across the entire cornea allows for the crisp vision you want.

If an object pierces this layer or beyond, you could have vision loss.

4. Descent’s Membrane

(Deep name, right? It’s just because we’re getting further into your eye’s anatomy.) This interior layer helps maintain the structure and stability of both the cornea and lens of the eye.

5. Corneal Endothelium

The innermost layer helps the important drainage system in our eyes to keep your eyes properly hydrated which helps with clear vision.

How an Experienced Optometrist Carefully Removes a Foreign Object From Your Eye

When something invades your eye, Dr. Balocca needs to know the how so he can accurately determine the what and where.

  • How did it happen?
  • What is in your eye?
  • Where is it exactly? 

All these details and more are important when treating your specific eye condition. Our eye doctor has extensive knowledge of how different substances (a plant versus metal) interact with your cornea. This is important if you end up with an eye infection. (We’ll try our hardest to prevent this!)

Let’s go over the basics of how an eye doctor extracts that painful item. Of course, the optometrist tailors this minor procedure to your specific condition and needs.  Dr. Balocca will:

  1. Rinse out or irrigate your eye with a sterile saline solution.
  2. Use Proparacaine eye drops to numb your eye and keep you comfortable.
  3. Closely examine your eye with a slit lamp and ask you to sit very still.
  4. Use the appropriate tools to gently and safely remove the object(s).
  5. Apply antibiotic drops to your eye and give instructions.

You may feel anxious reading over these steps, but Dr. Balocca and other experienced professionals know exactly how to take good care of you during panicky experiences like these. 

After the doctor removes the foreign object(s), he’ll test your vision for a baseline, which allows proper monitoring and aftercare. Ideally, you’ll feel more comfortable after the procedure. You’ll receive specific instructions on caring for your eye at home, and know when to return for a check-up.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Will it hurt to remove something from my eye?

Since everyone has a different pain tolerance, it all depends. Because of the numbing drops, a lot of people describe more discomfort than actual pain. 

Most people are honestly more anxious about sitting still at the slip lamp during this minor procedure. But we’re here to tell you, it’s truly not as scary as it sounds. Dr. Balocca will safely and calmly walk you through every step.

How long will my eye hurt?

Directly after the incident is oftentimes the most painful. Once the doctor removes the object, you’re likely to experience instant relief. Other times, it may still feel like something’s in your eye for a day or two.

How soon will I know if I did damage my vision?

This all depends on the extent of your injury. Our optometrist will provide a personal analysis after your procedure. He’ll also let you know what you should expect with your vision in the days following your visit to Eye On Health.

What if the object is stuck too deep in my eye?

If our seasoned optometrist is unable to safely remove the embedded object from your eye, you may need to see an ophthalmologist, a medical doctor who specializes in treating eyes. Don’t worry, Dr. Balocca knows the best doctors serving the Phoenix area. 

Will I need eye drops?

Most likely, yes. Many people need to use antibiotic eye drops for several days. Again, this will depend on your unique situation.

Can I go back to work?

Most people can return to their work within 1-2 days.

When The Unthinkable Happens, Trust Eye On Health

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