Corneal Foreign Body

Corneal Foreign Body is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Foreign material on or in the corneal epithelium
  • Corneal epithelium disrupted:
    • Abrasion if only epithelium disrupted
    • Scar if deeper layers of cornea involved


  • Foreign material causes inflammatory reaction:
    • May develop conjunctivitis, corneal edema, iritis, necrosis
  • Poorly tolerated:
    • Organic material (plant material, insect parts)
    • Inorganic material that oxidizes (iron, copper)
  • Well tolerated:
    • Inert objects (paint, glass, plastic, fiberglass, nonoxidizing metals)

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