It is never planned. You could be putting on makeup, gardening, or even just running errands on a windy day, but all of a sudden you have something in your eye and it hurts. What do you do?
Small Foreign Objects
First and foremost – DON’T RUB your eye!! This could scratch your cornea and make things much worse.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- In a well-lighted area, look in a mirror to try and find the object in your eye.
- If you wear contacts, remove them before trying to remove the object or flushing your eye.
- Try blinking and letting your natural tearing flush out the object.
- If the object is on the colored part of the eye or under the upper lid you can try to flush it out gently with clean cool or lukewarm water in one of three ways:
- Completely fill an eyecup or small juice glass with water and put your open eye into the container to flush out the object. Do this standing over a sink as the water will overflow.
- Use a clean eyedropper and fill with water. Be careful to not touch the tip of the eyedropper to the eye.
- Turn your head so your eye is down and to the side, then hold your open eye under a faucet.
- If the object is in the corner or on the white part of the eye you can try flushing the eye using one of the methods listed above or a using wet cotton swab or twisted piece of tissue to lightly touch the foreign object. Make sure to not apply pressure to the eye.
- If it is under the lower lid you can use any of the methods above by gently pulling down on your lower lid to access the object, but be careful to not push the object further down.
- A scratchy feeling of slight discomfort may continue for a short time after removing a small object. I discomfort continues after 24-48 hours, your eye becomes red or your vision becomes blurred, immediately seek medical attention.
- Never use tweezers, toothpicks or other hard objects to remove an object as these could damage your eye.
Never try to remove a piece of metal, anything that has punctured your eye or an object that will not come out after flushing with water. Cover both eyes to help prevent eye movement and there is no pressure on the eyes. Have a friend drive you to eye doctor immediately.
Do not touch your eye, but IMMEDIATELY flush your eye with clean running water from a faucet.
- Flush your eye for a minimum of 15 minutes holding your eye open and at an angle so the runoff water does not run into the other eye. If both eyes are affected or the chemicals are on other parts of the face or body, you need to do the flushing in a shower.
- If you wear contact lenses, leave them in and start flushing immediately. If they do not fall out from the flushing process you can try to remove them. Then repeat the entire flushing process.
- Seek medical attention immediately upon completing the flushing process, regardless of how your eyes feel.
The best way to protect yourself from getting anything into your eyes is to protect them.
- Never use chemicals without wearing goggles that completely surround and protect the eyes.
- Wear specially designed goggles when swimming.
- Wear goggles when participating in sports where you could get hit with any flying object like a ball or bat. Also in any sport where you could get an opponent’s elbow or hand in your eye.
- Wear protective eyewear when using power tools or striking tools like hammers.
- When you are cycling, in dusty areas or it is windy, also protect your eyes with sunglasses or other protective eyewear.
Discovery Eye Foundation