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Objects in the Eye - Home Treatment

First aid for objects in the eye

  • Don't rub your eye, because this could scratch the outer surface (cornea) of the eye. You may have to keep small children from rubbing their eyes.
  • Wash your hands before touching your eye.
  • If you wear contact lenses, take the contacts out before trying to remove the object or flush your eye.
  • If an object is over the dark center (pupil) of the eye or over the colored part (iris) of the eye, you may try to gently flush it out with water. If the object does not come out with flushing, put on dark glasses, and call your doctor. Do not put any pressure on the eye.
  • If the object is on the white part (sclera) of the eye or inside the lower lid, wet a cotton swab camera.gif or the tip of a twisted piece of tissue and touch the end to the object. The object should cling to the swab or tissue. Some minor irritation is common after you have removed the object in this way.
  • Gently flush the eye with cool water. A clean eyedropper may help. Many times the object will be under the upper eyelid and can be removed by lifting the upper lid away and flushing gently.
  • Do not try to remove a piece of metal, an object that has punctured the eye, or an object stuck on the eye after flushing with water.
  • Never use tweezers, toothpicks, or other hard items to remove any object. Using these items could cause eye damage.

Eye injury in a child

Applying first aid measures for an eye injury in a child may be difficult depending on the child's age, size, and ability to cooperate. Having another adult help you treat the child is helpful. Stay calm and talk in a soothing voice. Use slow, gentle movements to help the child remain calm and cooperative. A struggling child may need to be held strongly so that first aid can be started and the seriousness of the eye injury assessed.

Medicine you can buy without a prescription
Try a nonprescription medicine to help treat your fever or pain:

Talk to your child’s doctor before switching back and forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.

Safety tips
Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
  • Carefully read and follow all directions on the medicine bottle and box.
  • Do not take more than the recommended dose.
  • Do not take a medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past.
  • If you have been told to avoid a medicine, call your doctor before you take it.
  • If you are or could be pregnant, do not take any medicine other than acetaminophen unless your doctor has told you to.
  • Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless your doctor tells you to.

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:

  • Decreased, double, or blurred vision doesn't clear with blinking.
  • Pain increases or continues.
  • Blood develops over the colored part (iris) of the eye.
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia) develops.
  • Signs of infection develop.
  • Symptoms become more severe or more frequent.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 23, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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