Piece of hair imbed in her cornea

  1. I just got a call from my mother at the optomitrest. Apparently my sister has a piece of hair imbed in her cornea. Im just curious if anyone knows how bad this is. Shes going to the hospital because they couldnt get it out at the Eye doctors...

    Im getting a little nervous...:frown:
  2. jcsd
  3. turbo

    turbo 7,063
    Gold Member

    Don't worry. An optometrist is trained to recognize medical problems, but is not qualified to do surgery on the eye. For that you need an ophthalmologist. The transfer between disciplines is normal procedure. I used to work for a large ophthalmic practice, and routinely made up power-point presentations of eye conditions (some quite stomach-churning) and burned them to slides so that the ophthalmologists could present them at optometrists' conventions. For reference, an optician (I am a board-certified optician) is qualified to make eyeglasses for you based on the prescription of an optometrist or ophthalmologist. An optometrist is qualified to evaluate defects in your vision, prescribe eyeglasses and contacts, and often to fit contacts. An ophthalmologist does many of the same things that an optometrist does, but usually specializes in surgical procedures that may encompass retinal procedures, lens replacement (a common response to cataracts), reconstruction, plastic surgery of the occipital region, enucleation, etc. So don't panic unless the ophthalmologist has some difficulty with the procedure. Chances are, she'll be fine.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2006
  4. I just got a call and they were of to a surgen. Im gussing it would be lazer surgery? I cant really think of what else it could be unless they burned it out which i doubt.
  5. turbo

    turbo 7,063
    Gold Member

    Nope, chances are that it will be a minimally-invasive surgical procedure under local anesthesia (perhaps as simple as extracting the hair and applying antibiotic drops.) The cornea is delicate and quite sensitive to pain, so I expect that her eye will be patched for a bit, perhaps with anesthetic drops to apply for a few days. Try not to worry too much. Good luck.
  6. Thanks, ill try.
  7. Chi Meson

    Chi Meson 1,767
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Sorry to hear about this, Steve. Hope all goes well. Chances are high that Turbo is right on the money here.

    So homework is still due on Monday.

  8. Moonbear

    Moonbear 11,955
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I agree that turbo is likely correct that it's something fairly routine. Mostly, dealing with objects embedded in the cornea or that have scratched the cornea is very uncomfortable for the patient (imagine how it would be to feel like you had something irritating your eye continuously for days), but don't have long-term consequences. It's hard to imagine that a hair would be embedded very deep anyway.
  9. I guess what happened is on the way over it fell out because she was crying (quite understandibly). The doctor examined her and said that it fell out over but it was very very close to being covered over (whatever that may mean???) Im thinking its something along of how a pearl is made from a grain of sand. Good news is shes fine but has a few perscriptions to take

    <sigh of relief>

    Thanks for the responses

  10. crap double post...
  11. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    I have never heard of hair becoming embedded in the cornea. I have myself experience an eyelash (small hair) on the cornea which then irritated the soft membrane of the eye socket - very painful. Normally the procedure is to pull the eyelid (tissue) away from the eye and retrieve the eyelash. One does have to be careful near the eye. I have also retrieved eyelashes from my cornea using a wetted cotton swab - again being careful to just touch the eyelash and not scratch the cornea.

    Pleased to hear that the matter is resolved.

    I once got a particle of hot slag embedded in my eye, while using a cutting torch. Even though I was wearing safety googles, the particle flew underneat the lens. Fortunately it was in the outside corner, and not over the iris.
  12. Moonbear

    Moonbear 11,955
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Was she wearing contacts or something that the hair got trapped to get it into the cornea? Or was it possibly a fiber of something else? It's a bit hard to imagine a scenario that would lead to a single hair actually becoming embedded in the cornea and not just being flushed away quickly with tears. But, whatever the case, it sounds like it all turned out okay, and that's always good to hear.
  13. turbo

    turbo 7,063
    Gold Member

    Glad to hear that it's resolved. Generally cornea scratches are quite painful, even if the damage is minor. The important thing now is to make certain that no infection sets in while the healing takes place.
  14. Yeah, she has to take drops 8 times a day in that eye for one week and then it should be fine.
  15. turbo

    turbo 7,063
    Gold Member

    Make sure that she follows that schedule to the letter. It sounds like a PITA, but vision is precious and our eyes are in a warm moist environment that some micro-organisms can thrive in. With saline tears and a natural film of oil, our eyes are pretty well-protected, but the antibiotic drops are a really good idea. I'm glad things came out well.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2006
  16. I still am curious to know how it actually got in there though. I guess its something ill never know. Its just a wierd, wierd, thing to have happened.
  17. turbo

    turbo 7,063
    Gold Member

    I wish that I had saved copies of the digital images that I burned to slides for these doctors. Nowadays, CDs and DVDs could have stored a lot of them but I did not have personal storage space for them at the time. Some of the most disturbing images involved rhabdomyosarcoma, in which a very nasty cancer of connective tissues attacked (often) young patients, and left them with very short lives even after the most aggressive treatments that you could imagine. Routinely, enucleation (removal of the entire effected eye) was the preferred option and back then, survival spans of 6 months or so were considered optimistic.

    It's much nicer to deal with matters of physical damage. After I had a medication-induced stroke a few years back, my neurologist was explaining to me the extent of the brain-stem injury. I noticed that one lens of her rimless glasses was chipped and commented on it. She said that she was very busy and hadn't found the time to get the lens replaced. I asked if she participated in any energetic activities and she said that she kept horses and rode every chance that she got. That is the WORST time to expect eyeglasses (especially chipped ones!) to protect your eyes, and I lectured her for quite a while to convince her to get that lens replaced. After glass lenses are figured and edged, they are heat-treated to anneal them and reduce their internal stresses. After plastic or polycarbonate lenses are figured and edged, they undergo NO tempering. The polycarbonate lenses are able to hold together under severe impact, but the standard plastic lenses can shatter just as badly as glass.

    If you have a kid, pay a little extra for polycarbonate lenses. Please.
  18. Wow thats really interesting sounds like you'd be just waiting for an accident like driving with a chipped windshield.
  19. turbo

    turbo 7,063
    Gold Member

    Exactly! The damage may look superficial, but the potential for catastrophic failure is high.
  20. Sounds kind of like the base jumping thread:rofl:
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