Our staff is trained to hear those words. Foreign bodies such as metal, aluminum things like that. They need to come out as quick as they can. Some of the foreign bodies depending on the metal can stay in the eye, but the worst-case scenario is when they begin to oxidize and cause rust reactions, that can start an infection, which leads to scar tissue formation in the cornea.
If we hear of anything stuck in the eye, we try to get the patient into the office as quickly as possible. We check their comfort level to make sure they’re not in too much pain and also apply some topical numbing medicine to make their cornea better. That same day we’ll remove the corneal foreign body under topical anesthetic to make sure that there’s no rust underneath. If there is any rust, we then remove that also and then send them home with a nice course of topical antibiotics. We also follow-up the day after and then the week after to make sure the healing process is going as smooth as it can.
With foreign bodies, we recommend patients come into the practice within 24 hours before it oxidizes, such as if it’s steel, iron, or some kind of metal that can oxidize. Obviously, the quicker the better but as far as to come in right away, it just basically has to do with the patient’s comfort level.