When discussing eye health in the summer, the immediate concern is often the risk posed by ultraviolet rays without proper protection. However, knowing that sun rays aren’t the only hazard is essential.

Protecting Your Eyes from Wind and Sand:

Besides UV rays, wind, and sand can cause eye and vision problems. Even a tiny grain of sand or dust entering the eye can lead to inflammation.

The initial signs of inflammation include redness of the cornea and the transparent membrane covering the iris and pupil. This is often accompanied by a sensation of dry eyes, burning, and tearing.

Conjunctival Hyperemia

This symptom refers to redness in one or both eyes and can result from foreign body injuries caused by sand, dust, or soil. Sometimes, we inadvertently introduce foreign bodies into our eyes by rubbing them with dirty or unwashed hands. In response to inflammation and irritation, the eyes dilate blood vessels and attempt to expel the foreign body through tears.

However, if foreign bodies become trapped below the upper eyelid on the cornea, they can cause abrasions. The eyes’ natural reaction to expel foreign bodies is blinking, which can worsen the situation and lead to corneal injury.

Underestimating initial signs of inflammation can result in ocular damage and even severe eye conditions.

What to Do if a Foreign Body Enters the Eye

To avoid exacerbating the situation while awaiting a diagnosis, it is crucial to know what steps to take:

  • Refrain from touching or rubbing the eye with your hands.
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses.
  • Do not rinse the eyes with salt water or chlorine at the beach or pool.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Gently cleanse the area around the eye with disinfectant eye wipes.
  • If disinfectant wipes are unavailable, rinse the eyes with fresh water.
  • Burning and irritation typically subside within a few hours. However, if symptoms persist, they can be relieved with eye drops containing hyaluronic acid and amino acids, which provide lubrication and nourishment to the cornea.
  • Corneal abrasions caused by dust or sand generally heal within a few days. However, contact lenses should only be worn once fully healed.

When to Seek an Ophthalmologist’s Help for a Foreign Body in the Eye:

If the foreign body is expelled spontaneously, but the eye remains red, accompanied by burning, tearing, and discharge, it may indicate bacterial conjunctivitis. In such cases, it is vital to consult an ophthalmologist within 1-2 days to begin appropriate treatment tailored to the specific microorganism causing the infection.

In any case, it is recommended to consult an ophthalmologist or a healthcare professional to get personalized advice and appropriate care related to eye health.