Why You May Feel Like There’s Something in Your Eye

Several sensations may develop in the eyes. Most of them are somewhat irritating. Sometimes, a sensation can be downright concerning. Many of the non-routine eye exams that are conducted each year revolve around the feeling of having something in the eye. We often refer to this as a “foreign body sensation.” Here, we discuss what may cause this type of eye irritation and what to do about it.
Where the “Foreign Body” Comes From
You may realize that the feeling you have does not mean that you literally have an object in your eye. Yes, that’s possible; maybe a flick of dust or other substance has entered the eye. Most of the time the sensation of a foreign body originates within the numerous nerve fibers in the cornea, the transparent part of the front of the eye. This doesn’t mean that the cornea has been scratched or injured, only that it has been disturbed in some way. Common reasons for a foreign body sensation include:
Dry eye. This common eye condition may develop after an unusually extended period of time in front of the computer. Dry eye syndrome may also become a chronic problem associated with age, certain arthritic conditions, or medications. If you suspect that dry eye is the cause of your eye irritation, you may try to soothe inflammation with artificial tears. If symptoms do not resolve within a day or two, schedule a visit with your ophthalmologist.
In-turned eyelash. Sometimes, a rogue eyelash gets misdirected and grows inward toward the ocular surface. In addition to causing a foreign body sensation, this problem may also make you more sensitive to light. Your eyes may become red and may water excessively. Symptoms should improve when the eyelash is removed.
Corneal abrasion. The cornea may be injured by infection or even by rubbing the eyes. The foreign body sensation may feel like something rolling over the eye and may be very uncomfortable. An ophthalmologist should examine the eye to observe the degree of abrasion and administer appropriate treatment such as antibiotic ointment and an eye patch to wear while the eye heals.
A foreign body sensation can be tricky because there are so many potential causes. If you are frustrated by this condition, schedule a visit with us at 540-722-6200.
Posted in: Dry Eye Care/Restasis, Eye Conditions


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