How to Get Something Out of Your Eye

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Eye injuries are some of the most common injuries in the world. Every single day, thousands of people experience an eye injury that could have a negative impact on their ability to see clearly. As you can imagine, this also impacts their ability to live a happy, healthy, and quality life.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, there are over 2.4 million eye injuries reported every year in the United States. Getting a foreign body stuck in your eye accounts for nearly 35% of those injuries and the other 65% consists of burns, open wounds, and contusions.

I’m sure we all remember a time when we got something stuck in our eye – it’s not something we look forward to. Sometimes it brings about a great level of pain, while other times it’s more annoying or irritating than anything else. Still, it’s something most of us experience too often.

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Preparing a First Aid for Eye Care

Most of us have a first aid kit in our home, vehicle, office, and anywhere else you deem necessary. With that said, most of the first aid kits we keep handy aren’t going to have the adequate tools needed for eye care. They might have some useful items, but not nearly enough.

Don’t worry, we’re going to highlight some of the items you should consider adding to your first aid kit – that way, you’re prepared for when you get something stuck in your eye:

  • Small mirror
  • Eyedrops (artificial tears)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Cotton swabs
  • Flashlight
  • Eye wash cup
  • Saline solution
  • Water
  • Eye irrigation kit
  • Sterile gauze
  • Medicine dropper
  • Eye patch
  • Goggles

The good news is you likely have most of these items in your home already – if so, go ahead and add them to your first aid kit. It’s best to have everything in one place to avoid having to search for something that’s not where it’s supposed to be. Again, it’s best to stay prepared.

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How to Get Something Out of Your Eye the Right Way

When most people get something stuck in their eye, they immediately rub the eye to eliminate the irritation – this is one of the worst things you can do and should be avoided at all costs. This can damage the cornea or dig the foreign object deeper into the eye – making the issue worse.

Believe it or not, there is a right way and wrong way when getting something out of your eye. In fact, the human eye will naturally flush most of the debris (sand, dirt, lashes, etc.) out of the eye through tearing and blinking – you can think of it as the human eye’s natural windshield wiper.

Unfortunately, that windshield wiper doesn’t always work. When you get something stuck in your eye, there are best practices you should follow to prevent any further harm or damage to the eye – but it largely depends on what you get stuck in your eye and where that object gets stuck.

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What Did You Get Stuck In Your Eye?

Before attempting to get something out of your eye, you should consider what it is that you got in your eye to ensure you follow the best practices. The three most common things people get stuck in their eyes include everyday objects, chemicals, and contact lenses. Let’s take a look:

  • Everyday Objects – if you get debris, an eyelash, dirt, dust, a bug, or hair in your eye, don’t attempt to rub the eye. Instead, use artificial tears (eye drops) to flush it out. You can also use a cotton swab to gently touch the debris, but only if you can visibly see it.
  • Chemicals – if you get a chemical in your eye, you’ll want to rinse and flush out your eyes for 15 minutes before contacting a medical professional for further instructions. If you get soap or shampoo in your eyes, flush the eyes out with saline or water.
  • Contact Lenses – if you get a contact lens or a piece of a contact lens stuck in your eye, use rewetting drops while massaging the upper and lower eyelids until the contact lens comes out. Make sure you gently lift your eyelids open to check for lens fragments.

Artificial tears are extremely important, as they stimulate tearing and initiate the natural flush-out process. A damp cotton swab can be used to pick small pieces of visible debris out of the eye. Moving your eye around and blinking can also help initiate the eye’s natural flush-out process. Worst case scenario, contact your eye doctor for further help.

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Where Is the Object Stuck?

In addition to what you got stuck in your eye, you should also consider where the object is stuck before attempting to remove something from your eye. The three places you’ll get something stuck in their eye is the front surface of the eye (cornea), the upper eyelid, and the lower eyelid.

  • Surface of the Eye – examine the eye, locate the object, and use eye drops to flush or remove foreign objects from the eye. If that doesn’t work, find the object and gently remove it with a cotton swab.
  • Upper Lid – gently stretch the upper eyelid over the lower eyelid and move your eye to dislodge the object. If that doesn’t work, use a wash cup to rinse out the eye.
  • Lower Lid – gently stretch the lower eyelid downward and move your eye around to dislodge the object. If that doesn’t work, use eye drops or a wash cup.

Before you start messing around with your eye, make sure you wash your hands and are in a well-lit area – use a flashlight, if needed. This will ensure a clean and safe operation, which will help prevent the problem from getting worse. As long as you’re careful, everything will be fine.

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What to Avoid When Getting Something Out of Your Eye

Much like we explained above, being safe and careful is top priority when examining the eye or attempting to get something out of the eye. Not only are your hands full of bacteria and other germs, but you could end up doing more harm by trying to remove something improperly.

Here are some of the things you should avoid when getting something out of your eye:

  • DO NOT rub your eyes for any reason
  • DO NOT use tap water when flushing your eyes out
  • DO NOT panic or freak out (everything will be okay)
  • DO NOT drive if the object is impairing your vision
  • DO NOT flush your eyes with your contact lenses in
  • DO NOT examine your eye with dirty hands
  • DO NOT use a cloth to touch your eye
  • DO NOT attempt to remove objects embedded into the eye

If you’re having a hard time getting something out of your eye or are experiencing a lot of eye pain, redness, swelling, or irritation after removing something from your eye, seek emergency medical attention from Milwaukee Eye Surgeons. Our experienced team will help ease the pain and find a proven solution.

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