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Home » What's New » Metal fragments in the eye – immediate treatment is critical!

Metal fragments in the eye – immediate treatment is critical!

Eye Care, woman eye treatment in Copperas Cove, TX.

Emergency eye care in Copperas Cove, TX

Other than contact lenses, no foreign item is meant to be in your eyes. That’s why even the tiniest foreign body will cause pain, such as a grain of sand, a stray eyelash, speck of dust, splinter of wood, or thin metal shaving. Typically, these objects get stuck either under your eyelid or lodged in the surface layer of your eye, called the cornea. At Cove Eyecare, many patients seek urgent medical attention due to painful vision.

Urgent eye exams in Copperas Cove, TX

The first thing our Copperas Cove eye doctor will do if a patient complains about painful vision is perform a gentle and thorough eye exam. When the patient works as a mechanic, welder, or machinist, the source of the pain is often a metal fragment that got stuck within the cornea.

The outer layer of your cornea (the epithelium) is very soft, making it easy for sharp metal fragments to become lodged in. When this happens, pain is generally felt immediately. As the metal object begins to rust and the edges become less jagged, the pain may decrease. However, this relief is short-lived, and by the next day the eye will become red and swollen. Within a short amount of time, uveitis – a severe inflammation – may develop, which complicates treatment.

Treatment for a metal fragment stuck in the eye

Our Copperas Cove eye doctor will numb your cornea with eye drops before removing the foreign body. We use a high-powered biomicroscope to get a precise and detailed view of your eye and specialized tools to remove the object. If the metal fragment has been stuck in your eye for a lot longer than one day, the rusting may be significant and have penetrated deeper into your cornea. This will create a dark spot on your cornea. In that case, it is imperative to remove the rust or your eye will not heal properly.

To remove rust from your eye, we use a low intensity spinning burr. While effective, this procedure also leaves a corneal scar, thereby lengthening the healing time for your eyes. This underscores the message that you should never delay in seeking treatment from our Copperas Cove eye care center if you suspect that a metal fragment is stuck in your eye! The sooner we can remove the object, the lower your chances of complications and the faster the healing process.

Complications due to a metal fragment in the eye

When a metal fragment is left in your eye, problems can result.

  • The most typical complication is infection and scarring due to rust, and some cases of scarring can cause permanent visual impairment.
  • Corneal abrasions are also common, and sometimes they do not heal, turning instead into a corneal ulcer.
  • If the metal fragment pierced your eye and entered the eyeball, it can even cause blindness.

Protect your vision – if you think a metal fragment may be stuck in your eye, contact our Copperas Cove, TX, eye care practice immediately.

Symptoms that require urgent eye care in Copperas Cove, TX

  • Sharp pain in your eye followed by burning and irritation
  • Bleeding into the white of your eye
  • Lasting sensation that something is in your eye
  • Gritty, scratchy feeling when blinking
  • Blurry vision or loss of vision in the affected eye
  • Watery, red eye
  • Sensitivity to lights

Many people go back and forth, deliberating whether or not they should seek urgent medical attention for these eye symptoms – or just wait another day to see if it goes away. In response, our Cove Eyecare optometrist advises you to always err on the side of caution and contact us immediately!