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View Full Version : Tips for removing metal from your eye



chevynut
04-20-2014, 09:18 AM
About once a year I get a piece of metal in my eye and have to go to the eye doctor to have it removed. It usually happens when grinding, when a spark bounces off my clothes or my face and under my glasses. The worst kind are generated when I'm using a die grinder with a carbide burr since it makes sharp shavings that are especially dangerous. Sometimes the metal gets into my hair or on my eyebrows, and falls into my eyes later like when I'm showering. I wear glasses while I work, but rarely a full face shield because I find them very cumbersome.

Last week I got a piece of metal (steel) in my eye again while I was grinding on a frame part. I felt it hit my eye lightly after it glanced off of my pants or shirt, as the sparks were not going toward my eyes. I kept working and later that evening I felt something was in my eye.

I was on the computer later that evening, and it started bothering me more. I figured I'd have to go to the eye doctor in the morning, which costs me 2-3 hours and $75 for an office visit and sometimes a painful 2-3 days after that with a patch on my eye. I hadn't really tried removing it yet because it wasn't bothering me until then. I had an idea that I've wanted to try out, so I decided to try pulling it out with a magnet. I have some very strong rare-earth magnets that are about 1/2" diameter discs. I held one of them very close to my eye and in the area where the metal felt like it was. Viola! The metal was gone from my eye just like that!

Here's some tips I've learned over the years....

There are several ways to get metal out of your eye, one being trying to flush it out with water or saline solution. This is usually not very productive since the sharp metal sticks to the eye very well. Another involves the use of a Q-tip like swab. If you can find a swab with synthetic fibers instead of cotton, it seems to cling to the metal better. But I have used cotton swabs successfully.

Try not to leave the metal in your eye overnight, as it hurts like hell by morning and it can rust, requiring a doctor to remove the rust from your cornea. This is usually done by drilling or a tiny "ice cream scoop" with razor sharp edges. It's a lot more invasive and painful than removing it right away.

Obviously the magnet trick will only work on ferromagnetic metals like steel and some stainless steels, but it's worth having a strong magnet in your shop or your house just in case it works. Make sure it's clean before getting it near your eye. It worked for me!

567chevys
04-20-2014, 10:25 AM
When I was younger working in the valves shops , The formans would used the end of a paper match (the part that is tore) to get metal out that was loose .

Sid

chasracer
03-05-2018, 07:35 PM
My wife has worked for eye surgeons for 25+ years and when I told her about using a magnet for removing the metal she about had a coronary. Honestly I can't explain all the medical stuff about it but according to her if that goes badly, you could damage or lose your sight in that eye. Just her .02. Be careful.

NickP
03-05-2018, 07:42 PM
My wife has worked for eye surgeons for 25+ years and when I told her about using a magnet for removing the metal she about had a coronary. Honestly I can't explain all the medical stuff about it but according to her if that goes badly, you could damage or lose your sight in that eye. Just her .02. Be careful.

Ditto to this, Deby worked for a rather prominent eye surgeon years back and cringed when I used to try and extract a particle.

chevynut
03-05-2018, 07:47 PM
I fail to see how a magnet can do any damage to your eye. The metal is just on top of the cornea and using a q-tip could be a lot worse if you drag it across your eye. The magnet works great for me.

Rick_L
03-05-2018, 07:58 PM
Jeez, I cringe reading this. Just let a pro do it. IT'S YOUR EYESIGHT MAN!

chasracer
03-05-2018, 08:16 PM
I fail to see how a magnet can do any damage to your eye. The metal is just on top of the cornea and using a q-tip could be a lot worse if you drag it across your eye. The magnet works great for me.

It's not the magnet although you mentioned ones that are fairly strong. It's the possibility of scratching or cutting the cornea if the magnet were to move the fragment wrong. I know it's a different deal but every time I get scheduled for an MRI, I automatically go see the eye doctor to have any metal removed. Invariably, no matter how careful I have been, he'll find a few pieces. If those were to be moved in my eyes in the wrong directions, it could be a bad situation.

NickP
03-05-2018, 08:31 PM
Jeez, I cringe reading this. Just let a pro do it. IT'S YOUR EYESIGHT MAN!
That's the same thing the eye doc said.

chevynut
03-06-2018, 06:42 AM
Wow, it took me a few seconds to remove the steel particle with a magnet. If you guys are so paranoid about it then by all means go to an eye doctor every time you get something in your eye. When all else fails and I need to, I go to an eye doctor. I've had eye doctors gouge metal out of my eyes with an instrument shaped like an tiny ice cream scoop. I've also had them use q-tips and tiny rotary burrs. The cornea heals very quickly.

By the way, I don't think I've had to do this since I started this thread 4 years ago. That's a good thing. ;)

chevynut
03-06-2018, 06:48 AM
They even sell first aid eye magnets:

https://www.fastenal.com/products/details/1015449

BamaNomad
03-06-2018, 08:18 AM
Now that is a new on me! :)

Suggested New Fastenal Advertisment:

FASTENAL - Fasteners and Tools for EVERY purpose! :)

55 Tony
03-06-2018, 05:13 PM
I like the magnet idea. I really don't understand what could go horribly wrong. Heck, one time I got something in my eye while grinding but I thought I washed it out with an eye cup and water. The next day it started hurting bad and I saw where it was but couldn't get it out. To the emergency center of the hospital I went. They told me that the outer layer of the eye grows very fast and had grown over the dirt. Then they told me up front that they don't have a real tool to remove it. It was either a pin or a needle. The Dr. on duty said he doesn't have steady enough hands and waited till a surgeon could dig it out. That hurt!