Corneal Foreign Body

rDVM Quick Reference Guide for this Ophthalmic Emergency

  • Physical Examination
  • Irrigate/Lubricate Cornea
  • Topical Antimicrobials
  • Avoid Topical Anti-Inflammatories
  • Systemic Anti-Inflammatories
  • Systemic Analgesia
  • E-Collar to Prevent Self-Trauma
  • Refer for Surgical Removal and/or Corneal Repair

Corneal foreign bodies can be superficial, deep or penetrating. Initial treatment might include corneal irrigation and lubrication, topical and systemic antimicrobials, systemic anti-inflammatories and systemic analgesia. An Elizabethan collar should be placed to prevent self-trauma. Superficial, non-embedded foreign bodies can sometimes be irrigated from the corneal surface with saline eye-wash. Deeper, embedded or penetrating foreign bodies should not be removed unless the patient is anesthetized and prepared for corneal grafting or wound repair. Referral for surgical foreign body removal and corneal stabilization is generally recommended.