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How to Deal with a Foreign Object in the Eye

Having a small foreign object in the eye is not life threatening, though it can cause an immense amount of discomfort. Follow these steps to flush the eye clear.


  • Step 1: Wash hands Wash your hands thoroughly, and find a well-lit area where you can examine the eye. If you're examining your own eye, find a mirror as well.
  • TIP: Do not touch, press, or rub the eye -- or try to pull out an object that's lodged in the eye with your fingers or tweezers. That could cause further irritation and make the injury worse
  • Step 2: Examine eye Carefully examine the eye by pulling the lower lid down while the person looks up. Then have them look down as you raise the upper lid.
  • Step 3: Flush the eye Thoroughly rinse an eyecup or a small glass. Fill it halfway with lukewarm water or saline solution. Press the rim tightly around the eye to prevent spilling, then tilt the head back, flushing the eye while the person blinks a few times and rolls their eye around.
  • TIP: Don't use regular eyedrops, like those containing tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride, to flush the eye.
  • Step 4: Flush several times If the foreign object doesn't wash away, flush a few more times, rinsing the eyecup with clean water after each use.
  • TIP: If it doesn't cause too much distress, stretch the upper eyelid over the lower eyelid, allowing the lashes of the lower eyelid to brush away any object caught beneath the upper lid.
  • Step 5: Seek medical attention If irritation persists, stop flushing and seek medical attention. The person may have suffered a corneal abrasion.
  • FACT: Sometimes a scratch on the surface of the eye gives the sensation of something in the eye when in fact nothing is there.

You Will Need

  • Soap
  • A well-lit area
  • An eyecup or small glass
  • Warm water
  • A mirror
  • Saline solution

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