sore eyeMost of the time when you get something in your eye you can carefully remove it. In some cases, an object in your eye can scratch your cornea. A scratched cornea takes a couple of days to heal and may require treatment from your health care provider. If you get a chemical in your eye or something is embedded in your eye, you need immediate medical treatment. Follow these recommendations below for what to do if there is something in your eye.

How do I remove a particle in my eye?

If something is embedded in your eye (such as a glass fragment), do not try to remove it. Cover both eyes with a wet washcloth and have someone take you to an eye doctor or emergency room.

To remove a loose eyelash, dirt particle, or other object in your eye:

Wash your hands before touching your eyes.
Look in a mirror and try to find the object in your eye.

Try the following methods to remove the object:

  • Try to blink to allow your tears to wash it out. Do not rub your eye.
  • If the particle is behind your upper eyelid, pull the upper lid out and over the lower lid and roll your eye upward. This can help get the particle come off the upper lid and flush out of the eye.
  • If the object is in the corner of your eye or under your lower eyelid, remove it with a wet cotton swab or the corner of a clean cloth while holding the lower lid open.
  • Fill an eyecup or small juice glass with lukewarm water. Put your eye over the cup of water and open your eye to rinse your eye and flush the object out.
  • You can pour lukewarm water into your eye or hold your eye under a faucet to flush out your eye.

What should I do if I get a chemical in my eye?

Chemical burns to the eyes are a medical emergency. Follow these steps if you get a chemical in your eyes.

  • Immediately flush the eye with water by holding your head under the faucet or by pouring water into your eye from a clean container. Keep your eye open while flushing with water.
  • Continue flushing out your eye for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • After you flush your eye out, call your health care provider or have someone take you to the emergency department or urgent care center.
  • If possible, take the container the chemical was in with you to the health care provider.

When should I call my health care provider?

Call if:

  • You have severe or deep eye pain.
  • You still have eye pain or irritation 30 minutes after you have removed an object.
  • You have glass or a chemical in your eye.
  • You have questions or concerns.

Information from Kirk Eye Center