A fallen eyelash, a piece of sand, a stubborn fiber on your contact lens, a speck of dust – Though tiny, these objects can become majorly frustrating and potentially dangerous if they reach your eye. Luckily, you can typically remove them yourself, but it’s important to proceed with caution to prevent permanent eye damage. Scroll down to learn how to get something out of your eye safely.
How to Get Something Out of Your Eye
Blink, Don’t Rub
When you get something stuck in your eye, you might have a hard time thinking straight. However, try to remember to stay calm, blink several times, and don’t rub your eye. When you rub something located on your eye, you are essentially scratching the surface of your eye. If you end up scratching your cornea, you could cause a corneal abrasion, which can lead to blurry vision and an exposed iris. Instead of rubbing, start blinking your eyes quickly, which will help your tears usher out the scratchy culprit with minimal damage. Blinking several times also activates the lacrimal gland, producing more tears to flush the particle out.
Locate the Piece of Debris
If blinking doesn’t help, you’ll need to take a closer look at your eye to locate the piece of debris. First, begin by washing your hands. The last thing you want to do is introduce harmful bacteria to your eye and into any open scratches. If you are wearing contacts, remove the lens from the affected eye. Then, open your eye as wide as you can in front of a mirror and examine your eye. Still not seeing that stubborn speck? Gently lift up your upper eyelid and then your lower eyelid and inspect your eye to see if there is anything underneath.
You might have trouble seeing without your contacts or with the extra tears. If so, ask your spouse, child, friend, or coworker to look at your eye to see if they can spot it. Once you’ve located the particle, you are one step closer to getting some eye relief.
Use a Wet Cotton Swab
After you’ve found the problem spot, quickly grab a wet cotton swab and gently remove the particle. You can also use a wet corner of a clean cotton cloth if you’re having issues using a cotton swab. Avoid using your fingers (your nails could be sharp and harboring dirt), and never use anything sharp like tweezers.
Flush Your Eye If Needed
If you can’t remove the item in your eye manually and your tears aren’t helping, you may need to flush your eye out with water. Fill a clean glass with lukewarm water and pour it over your open eye (you may need some help with this). You could also try opening your eye under a faucet or filling a small glass with lukewarm water and lowering your open eye into the water.
NOTE: If you got a chemical into your eye, flush your eye with water immediately and call your health care provider. If you cannot reach your health care provider, go to the emergency room or an urgent care center ASAP.
Let It Be
After you’ve solved the problem, it might feel like there is still something stuck in your eye. However, it is most likely just minor scratches that might feel sensitive for a few minutes afterward. Leave your eye alone for a bit; the discomfort will likely fade on its own.
When to See a Doctor
Learning how to get something out of your eye shouldn’t give you the false sense that you don’t ever need to seek help from an optometrist. If you get a very sharp piece of debris in your eye (such as glass), skip the DIY and call your optometrist. Or if you attempt to remove a less abrasive item yourself, but it is just not working, a quick trip to your optometrist’s office could save you time and help you avoid permanent damage. You should also visit your optometrist if your eye pain lingers more than 30 minutes after you remove something from your eye.
Are you having an issue with something stuck in your eye? If you live in southwest Missouri, contact Heffington’s. Since 1975, the Heffington family has been assisting the Springfield community with top-quality eye care and affordable eyeglasses and contacts. One of the unique features of our family-owned business is that we manufacture lenses at our own laboratory, giving us total control over the service and pricing, and we’re happy to pass our savings on to you. To learn more about our products and services, please get in touch with us online, send an email to [email protected], or give us a call at 417-869-3937 (Optiland location) or 417-882-3937 (House of Vision location). We look forward to hearing from you!