When something gets in your eye, your first instinct is to get it out. How you go about it can protect your eye or cause more harm.
When a foreign object like dirt or an eyelash gets in your eye, the eye will try to get it out by blinking and tearing. If that doesn’t help, wash your hands and try these tips:
• If you have been hammering or grinding something that could have exposed you to high-velocity metal fragments, do not attempt to remove the object from your eye. Get immediate emergency medical assistance.
• Try to rinse the object out of your eye using clean water or saline solution. You can use a small, clean drinking glass to flush the eye with tap water. Rest the glass against the bone at the base of the eye socket and gently pour the water into the eye.
• Try lifting the upper lid out and down over the lower lid to see if the lower lashes can help brush the object off the inner eyelid.
• If you are with someone who has something in her eye, look in the eye to see if you can find the object. Have her sit in a well lighted area. Look carefully at all sides of the eye by having her look to each side, then up and down. If you can see the object, try to rinse it out of the eye.
• If you cannot rinse the object out or if the object appears to be imbedded in the eyeball, see your healthcare professional right away.
Caution: Do not rub your eye. Do not remove an object that is imbedded in your eyeball.
If you are able to rinse the object out of your eye, you may continue to have a scratchy feeling for a day or two. If the discomfort lasts longer than two days or if your vision is blurred, seek medical attention.
If you have a chemical splash into your eye, follow these instructions right away:
• Flush your eye with water. Use clean tap water and flush your eye continuously for 20 minutes. You can do this by getting in the shower, holding your head under a faucet, or pouring water from a clean container. Direct the stream of water at the forehead over the affected eye or over the bridge of the nose if both eyes are involved.