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Grinding Spark in The Eye | Foreign Bodies in Eye

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Have you been noticing a grinding spark in the eye lately? Learn all about it along with the causes and remedies below!

What Grinding Spark in The Eye?

When working with heavy machinery and metal grinding, the metal particles generated tends to get stuck in your hair which might later fall into the eye, causing irritation and extreme pain. If not removed immediately, the metal particles lodged in the eye might rust and subsequently lead to severe complications. This condition is often referred to as a grinding spark in the eye.


Certain circumstances where tiny metal fragments, wood chips, a speck of dust, pieces of glass, or other materials traveling at high speed hurt the eye by penetrating the cornea or the sclera. Individuals most susceptible to this condition are factory laborers, woodcutters, etc.

These foreign bodies can be Superficial foreign bodies or Penetrating foreign bodies.

1. Superficial Foreign Bodies

Superficial foreign bodies are limited to the front of the eye or get trapped under the eyelid. Such articles do not penetrate the eye, which isn’t alarming, and they make a full recovery. These particles usually get blown or fall into the eye.

2. Penetrating Foreign Bodies

These penetrate the outer layer of the eye (cornea or sclera). These are commonly metal particles traveling at high speed. The severity depends on the type of material and the amount of damage caused by the particle. These commonly occur due to high-velocity mechanisms like grinding or hammering. They can be extremely serious and may result in irreversible corneal damage if not treated appropriately. Metal foreign bodies which contain iron in them can lead to a condition called ‘Siderosis,’ which eventually leads to poor vision over time if not treated promptly.


If you don’t treat the infection medically or promptly, there can be many complications. Such complications can not only impact your vision but can possibly be harmful to the eye.

1. Infection and Scarring

If you do not remove the foreign body from your eye, the metal objects react with the eye’s natural tears, and it tends to rust around the metal. You can visualize it as a dark spot on the cornea and can cause a scar that affects your vision.

2. Corneal Scratches or Abrasions

The foreign body trapped under the eyelid may scratch the cornea. With proper care, most corneal abrasions – even large ones – heal within 48 hours. In some instances, it may lead to a long-term problem known as recurrent corneal erosion, which may occur even years after the primary injury.

3. Ulcer

When a scratch on the cornea fails to heal, it leads to the formation of an ulcer. This could further affect your vision or lead to an abscess.

Available Remedies

When a foreign particle gets stuck in your eye, the first step would be to gently rinse your eye with lukewarm water and flush it out. You can rinse the eye, placing your head back and flushing the eye with water, or you can also open your eyes and forcefully splash water to flush out the particles.

Over-the-counter lubricants or artificial tears can also help soothe the irritation. Do not try and remove the particles using any solid or sharp objects from the eye. For cases where the particles have penetrated deeper, seek medical assistance.


Always wear safety glasses or goggles with tight-fitting side shields and 180-degree protection while participating in activities where there are chances of particles getting into the eye like:

  • Welding
  • Using a sander
  • Grinder Usage
  • Using a strimmer
  • Hammering on metal
  • Working in dusty or windy areas where chances of flying debris are high.

Seek medical attention if you are experiencing symptoms like persistent eye pain, itching, redness, swelling, twitching, discharge, and sensitivity to bright light, blurred vision, or any other symptoms lasting beyond 24 hours.

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