What is Foreign Body Sensation?

Foreign Body Sensation often includes a sharp pain in the eye, followed by burning, irritation, tearing, and redness. Patients describe to their optometrist that they feel like something is in their eye or that their eyes feel irritated constantly, and it may even feel as if something is moving around in the eye when closed. Some patients describe these symptoms as feeling similar to having sand in their eyes and feeling a scratching sensation on the eye when blinking.


Though most of the time this Foreign Body Sensation relates to the front surface of the eye being affected, this symptom can relate to a variety of different factors. Other common causes are dry eyes, blepharitis (an inflammation in the eyelids,) conjunctivitis or other inflammatory conditions.


In many cases, Foreign Body Sensation can be felt even though nothing has entered the eye. While it can be due to a number of conditions, often foreign eye sensation is felt due to a corneal abrasion. A corneal abrasion can be caused by a glancing blow from a finger, twig, or stone, and most corneal abrasions will heal within 48 hours.


Foreign Body Sensation can be seen after a patient has participated in risky behavior such as grinding, welding, or drilling without proper eye protection, but it can also be felt after encountering airborne debris when driving or walking. Small particles are often the culprit for Foreign Body sensation, and typical examples include airborne dust or sawdust. In some cases it could be a larger or more dangerous material, for example a piece of metal or metal dust fragments. These need to be dislodged by an optometrist immediately so scarring and vision loss can be prevented.


If you feel a foreign body sensation in the eye, you should first avoid rubbing it. Using artificial tears to rinse the eye, placing a warm compress over affected eyes, or washing the eyelids with preservative free wips and/or warm water may alleviate the symptom. If symptoms persist and you believe there is a foreign body stuck in your eye, then do not attempt to remove it yourself. Contact your optometrist for an examination immediately.


If you feel that you have this sensation in your eyes, then please give us a call to see one of our optometrists today.


Click here to book an appointment today!

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