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First Aid & Emergencies

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Foreign Body, Eye Treatment

Call 911 if:

  • The foreign body in the eye is sharp or is stuck in the eye or is sticking out of the eyelid.
  • Something hit the eye at a high rate of speed or with force.
  • The person has pain or a change in vision.

  • The foreign body in the eye is sharp or is stuck in the eye or is sticking out of the eyelid.
  • Something hit the eye at a high rate of speed or with force.
  • The person has pain or a change in vision.

1. Remove Foreign Body

Don't try to remove a large object or one that is deeply stuck in the eye. For small particles or something under the upper eyelid:

  • Clean around the eye with a wet washcloth if there are many particles.
  • Rinse the eye with a saline solution or clean water. Or place the affected side of the face in a pan of water; then have the person open and close the eye repeatedly to wash it out.

For something in the corner of the eye or under the lower lid:

  • If the object is under the lid, pull down the skin above the cheek bone.
  • Remove the item with the corner of a damp cloth or moistened cotton swab.

2. See a Health Care Provider

Get medical help if the person:

  • Still feels like there's something in the eye
  • Has abnormal sensation or pain or has changes in vision
  • Continues tearing after you wash out the eye
  • Has a cloudy spot on the cornea

3. Follow Up

  • The person may be referred to an eye specialist.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on January 23, 2016

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