• Why would an ophthalmologist not remove a foreign metallic fleck that penetrated the cornea and is embedded in the iris?


    Question:

    Why would an ophthalmologist not remove a foreign metallic fleck that penetrated the cornea and is embedded in the iris?


    Answer:

    A foreign body inside the eye is a very dangerous scenario, which can potentially lead to corneal scarring, cataract (cloudy lens), retinal detachment (when light-sensitive tissue peels away from the back of the eye), endophthalmitis (infection), and permanent vision loss. Some foreign bodies such as iron, copper, or plant matter need to be immediately removed as their presence in the eye can cause ongoing damage beyond the initial injury. Other substances are better tolerated by the eye and removal can be delayed if they are not causing any immediate damage. In fact, the original idea that the eye would tolerate an artificial intraocular lens placed in the eye after cataract surgery was made after noting that the eyes of pilots who suffered glass shrapnel wounds during World War II tolerated the foreign bodies fairly well.


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