A foreign object in the eye is something that enters the eye from outside the body. It can be anything that does not naturally belong there, from a particle of dust to a metal shard. When a foreign object enters the eye, it will most likely affect the cornea or the conjunctiva.
Steps to remove something from your eye
When something gets in your eye, you are immediately tempted to start rubbing. Don’t do this as you may risk scratching your cornea and turn a small incident into a serious medical problem. Instead, you need to wash the matter out of your eye. The sooner you flush your eye, the quicker you will find relief, and the more likely the irritant will not harm the sensitive organ. Learn the proper method for washing debris from your eye.
Find a location with running water such as a restroom or kitchen. A place with a spray hose is best if accessible. Take a mirror with you if there is not one already in the area.
Clean your hands with soap and water before trying to remove something from your eye. Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds and rinse well. Pat dry with lint-free cloth.
Blink many times to try to dislodge the particle without touching your eye. Your eye should begin to tear, which might flush out the object on its own, according to Healthexpertadvice.org. If not, you will have to try to remove it with water.
Open your affected eye widely by grasping your eyelashes and pulling down the lower lid. Look for the particle causing your irritation.
Flush your eye with water. If you have an adjustable spray hose, use it at a gentle setting to run water into your water for 30 seconds. Check to see if the particle has been removed. If not, keep flushing.
Fill a small cup with water if you do not have a spray hose. Tilt your head back, hold your eyelids open with your fingers and slowly pour the water onto your eye. Repeat until the particle is washed out or you determine the method will not work.
Seek emergency treatment for your eye if you are unable to remove the object with water. Have a friend drive you. Cover your eye with a loose layer of gauze held on with medical tape.
If you suspect you have a foreign object in your eye, it’s important to get treatment promptly to avoid infection and the possibility of damaged vision. Take these precautions:
- Do not rub or put pressure on the eye.
- Do not use any utensils or implements, such as tweezers or cotton swabs, on the surface of the eye.
- Do not remove contact lenses unless there is sudden swelling or you have suffered a chemical injury.
If you suspect you have a foreign object in your eye, or you’re helping someone who has one, take the following steps before starting any home care:
- Wash your hands.
- Look at the affected eye in an area with bright light.
- To examine the eye and find the object, look up while pulling the lower lid down. Follow this by looking down while flipping up the inside of the upper lid.
The safest technique for removing a foreign object from your eye will differ according to the type of object you’re trying to remove and where it’s located in the eye.
The most common location for a foreign object is under the upper eyelid. To remove a foreign object in this position:
- Immerse the side of your face with the affected eye in a flat container of water. While the eye is under water, open and close the eye several times to flush out the object.
- The same results can be accomplished using an eyecup purchased from a drugstore.
- If the object is stuck, pull out the upper lid and stretch it over the lower lid to loosen the object.
To treat a foreign object located beneath the lower eyelid:
- Pull out the lower eyelid or press down on the skin below the eyelid to see underneath it.
- If the object is visible, try tapping it with a damp cotton swab.
- For a persistent object, try to flush it out by flowing water on the eyelid as you hold it open.
- You also can try using an eyecup to flush out the object.
If there are many tiny fragments from a substance, such as grains of sand in the eye, you will have to flush out the particles instead of removing each one individually. To do this:
- Use a wet cloth to remove any particles from the area surrounding the eye.
- Immerse the side of your face with the affected eye in a flat container of water. While the eye is under water, open and close the eye several times to flush out the particles.
- For younger children, pour a glass of warm water into the eye instead of immersing it. Hold the child face up. Keep the eyelid open while you pour water into the eye to flush out the particles. This technique works best if one person pours the water while another holds the child’s eyelids open.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.