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I worked for an Optometrist for five years and these are some of the tips I can give you:
If it is seriously bothering her it would be a good idea to see an eye doctor to have the cornea examined. On occasion, the foreign object can get stuck in the cornea, much like a splinter, and can cause infection or further damage. Scratches on the cornea will make her eye light sensitive until it heals. Try to stay out of the sunlight until it heals and wear sunglasses (this is sometimes even necessary inside), because it can make the eye more irritated due to squinting and watering. If she decides to be seen by a doctor and has to wait, there are some things that can help make her eye more comfortable. Pharmacies carry lubricating eye drops that are made for dry eyes and irritation. These are not the same as the drops that are used with contact lenses or for allergies and red eyes. The allergy/red eye drops will be very painful, don't use them! GenTeal lubricant eye drops, or a similar product will work well to keep the eye lubricated and more comfortable. These eye drops are a little gel-like and will make the vision slightly blurry for a couple of moments until they are absorbed by the eye, so if using them, make sure to use them when there is enough time to wait for them to absorb before moving around or driving if necessary. A cold pack may also help relive the irritation while she is waiting to be seen. Avoid rubbing the eye, it will only make it worse! The good news is that the eye heals rapidly. She will feel like she has something in her eye until it heals. If it is scratched, she will possibly be given drops for comfort and also there may be antibiotic drops given. If there is a foreign body in the cornea from rubbing, the doctor will use numbing drops before removing it. This sounds scary, but I have been surprised at how quick and painless removal is! Patients don't always realize that the eye was even touched! The doctor will use drops and a little dye in the eye to check for any foreign bodies. Once the dye is in, they use a black light and scope, as the dye glows in the dark. The dye will make any injury or foreign body more visible. An Optometrist or Ophthalmologist will be able to treat her. Most general practitioners can too, but if it was my mother, I would go to a doctor who specializes with eyes. If you are taking her to the ER since it's the weekend, most hospitals do have eye doctors available or on call. I hope this helps.
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