AfterOurs Clinics - Colorado
AfterOurs Clinics - Colorado

Ocular Foreign Bodies

close up of woman show her red sick eye with finger

Anything that comes into your eye from the outside can act as a foreign body. Foreign bodies can cause temporary irritation to permanent blindness depending upon the nature of the foreign body. Foreign bodies can be divided into two groups depending upon their location in the eye:

  • Intraocular foreign bodies – such as those residing in iris, lens, anterior chamber, vitreous, retina, and choroid.
  • Extraocular foreign bodies – such as those residing on the surface of the cornea, sclera, and conjunctiva.


The pathophysiology behind the injuries caused by these foreign bodies depends on where the foreign body is located.

If these foreign bodies, such as dust and small wood bark, are stuck into your conjunctiva or sclera, they can cause redness, pain, and constant watering from the eye.

If the ocular foreign bodies cross the sclera and cornea and enter into the compartment of the eye, then permanent blindness can occur if prompt treatment is not provided.


There are different types of ocular foreign bodies that can be very dangerous if adequate treatment is not provided. Following are some different types of foreign bodies:

  • Wood dust
  • Any flying insect can also act as a foreign body
  • Metallic foreign bodies in the case of mechanics
  • Pollen
  • Eyelashes
  • Makeup


Treatment of ocular foreign bodies depends upon the location of the foreign bodies in the eye.

The first step in the treatment of foreign bodies is removing them from the eye as soon as possible.  Note:  in many cases, removal of a foreign body should be performed by a professional.  Do not attempt to remove a foreign body that is embedded in the eye as permanent damage can occur.

  • Some foreign bodies are large enough to be seen with the naked eye and are removed with the help of forceps or other tools.
  • Smaller foreign bodies are first localized with the help of a slit lamp and then removed to avoid severe complications.
  • Intraocular foreign bodies such as those residing in the retina or vitreous are removed surgically.
  • Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen can help with pain.
  • Antibacterial eye drops may be used to prevent infection.

Contact us

In case of urgent medical care assistance, AfterOurs Urgent Care offers immediate telemedicine services, where medical providers are available to offer assistance. Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms requiring urgent medical attention can simply book their appointment with AfterOurs Urgent Care to directly talk to an expert. If your medical issue is not appropriate for telemedicine, we will let you know and refer you to an in-person facility.

When to visit a doctor:
Injuries due to ocular foreign bodies are common. You should visit your medical provider if reddening and severe watering result from these ocular foreign bodies. Immediate medical attention can prevent further damage and permanent visual impairment.

Treatment for ocular foreign bodies is available at AfterOurs Urgent Care.

For more information on ocular foreign bodies, see the following website: