Foreign Body, Eye (cont.)
Eye Foreign Body Diagnosis
- The first part of an eye examination is to evaluate the vision for acuity (how well one sees).
- The next portion of the examination, usually only performed by an ophthalmologist or a doctor in the emergency department, is the slit lamp examination. While one sits in a chair with their chin on a support, the doctor shines a small slit of light into the eye and looks through a microscope. This helps the doctor to see the cornea, the iris, and the lens, and the fluid in the eye.
- The doctor starts with a general examination of the visible portions of your eye. The eyelids, eyeball, and iris are examined.
- During this part of the examination, the doctor looks to make sure that the pupil is symmetric and reacts properly to light, that there is no obvious injury to the eyeball, and that no visible foreign bodies are still in the eye.
- The eye may be numbed with pain medicine, and a fluorescent dye may be applied to the eye. A blue light may be used to help look for scratches on the cornea or evidence of leaking aqueous fluid, which is the clear fluid that fills the front of the eyeball.
- While the eye is numbed, a tonometer may be used to check the pressure in the eye.
- The eyelid may be everted (turned inside out) with a cotton swab to get a better view of the underside of the eyelid.
- Depending on the severity of injury to the eye, the final portion of the examination involves dilating (enlarging) the pupil with eyedrops. Then, the inside of the eye and the retina can be evaluated to ensure that there are no foreign bodies inside the eyeball itself and that there is no damage to the retina.
Howard A. Blumstein, MD, FAAEM
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