Locate, irrigate, eliminate

Ocular surface foreign bodies are a frequently encountered form of ocular trauma, and community practice has an important role to play in their removal, reports Steve Smethurst.

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As four UK optometrists in community practice tell Acuity, detached eye lashes, glitter and injuries from using power tools without eye protection are a common cause of ocular foreign bodies.  

Aberdeen-based independent prescribing (IP) optometrist Malcolm McPherson MCOptom says that angle grinders are perhaps the worst offender. “But at least the foreign body is sterile as it’s red hot when it contacts the eye, so usually causes no infection,” he says.

But any penetrating foreign bodies would still need same-day hospital eye service care. As Dr Deacon Harle FCOptom, an IP optometrist in Tonbridge, Kent, points out: “Such patients need a thorough examination, including a full dilated retinal inspection.”

While an initial history and physical examination is recommended prior to drop instillation to help assist the exact location and nature of the foreign body, it’s often practical to stabilise patients first.

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