Particle Removed from Eye with Rust Ring (Corneal Foreign Body)

A metal particle got into the eye and stuck to the clear part in the front of the eye (cornea). This sensitive area can be very painful after a foreign body is removed. But it heals rapidly. The pain should go away within 24 to 48 hours.

The metal particle has likely been removed, but tears have caused the metal to rust and form a stain on the cornea. This is called a rust ring.

The rust ring often slowly disappears in about 2 to 3 days. But some times, it doesn't and may need to be removed. It may not be possible to completely remove a rust ring in a single visit. You may need to see an eye specialist for more treatment.

Home care

  • You can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to control pain, unless another medicine was prescribed. If you have chronic liver or kidney disease, or if you have ever had a stomach ulcer or digestive bleeding, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.

If you were given an eye patch:

  • Don't leave an eye patch in place for more than 24 hours, unless told to do so by your healthcare provider.

  • Always keep your return appointment for patch removal and re-exam. Your eye could be harmed if the patch remains in place longer than advised.

  • Don't drive a motor vehicle or operate machinery with the patch in place. You will have trouble judging distances with only one eye.

  • If eye drops or ointment were prescribed, use them as directed.

Follow-up care

  • No eye patch: If no patch was used, but the pain continues for more than 48 hours, you should have another eye exam.

  • Eye patch: If your eye was patched and you were given a return appointment for patch removal and re-exam, don't miss the visit. Again, it could be harmful to your eye if the patch remains in place longer than advised. If you were asked to remove the eye patch within 24 hours (or as directed by your healthcare provider), contact your healthcare provider right away if your pain gets worse after removal of the eye patch.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Increasing eye pain or pain that does not improve after 24 hours

  • Discharge from the eye

  • Redness of the eye or swelling of the eyelids

  • Worsening vision

  • Clear liquid draining from the area of the foreign body

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