Symptoms and Signs of Eye Foreign Body

Doctor's Notes on Eye Foreign Body

Anything that gets in the eye is medically termed a foreign body. This can range from an eyelash to a metal shard and any other object that gets into the eye. Depending on what gets into the eye, or how an injury occurred, a foreign body may scratch or pierce the eye may simply irritate the eye and go away with no long-term problem, or it could cause serious injury such as a corneal abrasion.

Symptoms of a foreign body injury to the eye may not be immediately apparent. In some cases the symptoms of a foreign body in the eye may be intermittent. When symptoms of a foreign body injury to the eye occur they may include a sharp pain in the eye followed by burning, irritation, tearing, and redness; feeling that something is in the eye; a scratching sensation when blinking; blurred vision or vision loss in the affected eye; bleeding into the white part of the eye, which can be either a conjunctival hemorrhage or a subconjunctival hemorrhage; blood layering in front of your iris, the colored area of the eye, and behind the cornea, the clear dome on the front of the eye (called hyphema, which may be a sign of significant injury).

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.