How to Safely Remove Something from Your Eyes

Nothing seems as bad as getting something in your eyes. As the eyes are extremely sensitive, even a fine piece of hair or eyelash can be painful and irritating. There are many things that get into our eyes by accident: It is not uncommon for people at the beach to later find just a bit of sand that has either blown in or was transferred from hand to eye. Things can splash up into your face and thereby exposing your eyes to irritation or injury. Objects can be projected by the wind, like when someone is driving with their windows down. It is critical to know how to remove these unwanted items from the eyes without doing further damage.

It is best to run cool water over the eyes. This can be down in shower or just by sticking your head under a faucet if you are somewhere without a shower. Continually splash water towards the affected area. This step is extremely important for any type of caustic material.

Workplaces have safety guidelines regarding chemicals. They should have a washing station somewhere on site. See a doctor immediately whenever chemicals get into your eyes. The water flushes the eyes allowing the object to naturally come to the corner of the eye where it can gently be removed with a moist wet cloth. See an ophthalmologist or doctor immediately when:

  • Chemicals are involved
  • The eyeball is punctured
  • The eyes are bleeding
  • Your vision changes
  • Foreign objects remains stuck

Sometimes, saline eye drops can be tried. This might be a good thing to try if there is no water source. Never put forceps or other sharp/hard object near eyes. Do not use your finger to try to grab something stuck on your eyeball. Take contacts out if they are worn.

One trick is to gently look up while pulling upper eyelid out slightly and down towards lower lid. This works when the offending item is in the upper portion of the eye. Often, the object in the eye will be in this area where it can be carefully removed with a gentle cloth. If something appears to be lodged under the lower eyelid, gently pull the lower eyelid out. Remove item with soft cloth carefully. Protect your delicate eyes, never rub them as this may cause a corneal abrasion. If symptoms don’t subside, see a doctor.

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