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Foreign Body Removal Q&A

  • I have sand stuck in my eye, is it dangerous? There is potential for the sand to lodge within the upper lid or ocular tissues. When this happens, blinking can cause the sand particle to incur significant abrasions to the cornea causing damage and possibly decreasing vision.
  • I have something stuck in my eye, how should I remove it? Most 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 imbedded in your eye, you need immediate medical treatment. Follow the instructions below for treating 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 another 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 to 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.

I feel like I have dirt in my eye when I wear contact lenses, is that dangerous?

If this is an ongoing feeling, it is best to contact your eye care professional who fit your contact lenses on you. There is a possibility that the contact lens’s parameters need to be changed or you may need to be fitted in a different type of contact lens altogether.

I spilled a chemical in my eye, what should I do?

To treat a chemical eye burn: Flush the eyes out with cool water for at least 15 minutes. As you rinse, use your fingers to hold your eye open as wide as possible and roll your eye to ensure the greatest coverage. Remove contact lenses, if applicable, if they do not come out during flushing. After flushing, it is best to visit your eye care professional to treat any inflammation or damage which may have occurred to the eye and surrounding tissues.

I spilled some chemical in my eye, should I remove my contacts or leave them in? After flushing, immediately remove your contact lenses and discard.

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