First Aid for Eye Injuries

Medically Reviewed by Whitney Seltman, OD on September 16, 2022
2 min read

Accidents happen and when they do, it is important to know how to handle them. Here are some first aid tips for eye injuries.

If you wear contact lenses, remove them immediately if you get chemicals in your eyes. Keeping them in your eyes may hold the chemical against the cornea, causing unnecessary, potentially permanent damage and pain.

  • If you suspect chemicals have entered your eye, begin flushing it immediately with cool water or an eye wash and continue to do so for a minimum of approximately 15 minutes.
  • Seek immediate medical attention by dialing 911 or going to the nearest emergency room. If possible, take the container of the offending substance with you so that you can tell your doctor what you have been exposed to.

If you have an object in your eye, do not rub your eye. You can cause more damage by rubbing it. You may try to remove the particle if it is not embedded in the eye. But, follow these first aid tips first:

  • First wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. This will prevent further contamination or infection.
  • Try flushing the eye with water. Using your finger and thumb, gently pull the upper eyelid down over the top of the lower eyelid. This should cause tearing and flush the object out. You may need to repeat this several times.
  • If you can see the object, you may try to remove it from your eye with a washcloth. Gently lift the upper or lower eyelid, and use a clean, wet washcloth to wipe the object away. If this does not work, seek immediate medical attention.
  • If you are not able to easily remove the object, do not force it. Go immediately to an eye doctor or to an emergency room, or call 911.