A 30-year-old woman presented with left eye pain and photophobia for over eight weeks. A hair was found to be embedded obliquely within the corneal stroma with overlying reepithelialization. The foreign body had been quiescent for over four years prior to any ocular symptoms. Successful removal of the hair was performed using local anesthetic, jeweler's forceps, a microblade, and a thirty-gauge needle with good visual outcome. We report an interesting case of an acute exacerbation of a previously quiescent, chronic corneal foreign body secondary to what we presume to be human hair following trauma, with only three other cases in the English literature.
A 30-year-old woman was referred by a local optometrist to the Emergency Eye Clinic at the Ivey Eye Institute with a ten-week history of left eye foreign-body sensation, pain, and photophobia. There was no recent traumatic event that she could recall. She was placed on seven-day course of prednisolone drops with resolution of her symptoms for approximately four weeks. However, her symptoms recurred and she was again treated with another short course of mild steroid drops with minor alleviation of her symptoms. Two days after this, her symptoms returned and, thus, she was referred to ophthalmology for a concern of a chronic foreign body of the left cornea.
On examination, her vision was 20/20 bilaterally with intraocular pressures of 17 and 14 mmHg in the right and left eyes, respectively. Slit-lamp exam of the left eye revealed a vertical, black foreign body resembling a human hair within the cornea with surrounding stromal haze and punctate epithelial erosions. The foreign body was obliquely embedded within the cornea, with the superior aspect displaced more anteriorly just below the epithelium and the posterior aspect within the anterior third of the corneal stroma. The anterior chamber demonstrated moderate inflammation and the remainder of her examination was unremarkable.
Slit lamp photograph of the left eye demonstrating a single hair embedded within the central cornea (white arrow) with surrounding stromal haze.
Upon further questioning, the patient endorsed a lone incident of a corneal abrasion of the left eye roughly four to five years ago secondary to the edge of a price-tag attached to a pair of sunglasses that she had tried on. She had not experienced any ocular symptoms until her presentation eight weeks prior to her referral to our service.
The patient was taken to the procedure room where the hair was removed under local anesthetic using jeweler's forceps, a microblade, and a 30-gauge needle under sterile technique. The remaining edge of the loose epithelium was debrided from the wound, a bandage contact lens was placed on the cornea, and the patient was prescribed moxifloxacin drops four times per day for one week. Seven days following removal, the patient had a visual acuity of 20/20 with complete resolution of her anterior chamber inflammation and ocular symptoms.