How to Get Something Out of Your Eye

In most instances, when something gets in our eyes, it is just dust particles or other similar nuisances. Although the foreign object can usually be safely removed, it can also cause damage to the cornea, which can take a few days to heal or even require medical attention. Emergency medical help is necessary when some substances are exposed to the eye, such as harsh chemical products. Keep reading to find out the safe ways to remove things out of your eyes.

How to Get Something out of Your Eye

1. Wash Your Hands

The first step is perhaps the most important, as failing to wash your hands (even if they look clean) can expose your eyes to bacteria and cause an infection. Ensure to use soap when washing your hands, then rinse thoroughly before patting dry with a clean towel.

2. Locate the Object

Locate exactly where the foreign object is before attempting extraction so as to not prod and poke your eye unnecessarily. Do this by moving your eye up and down, and left and right, to feel where the intruding object resides. It may also help to do this in front of a mirror so you can find the foreign object more easily.

3. Use a Bowl of Eyewash

First, mix some sterile eyewash solution with lukewarm water. Fill a bowl with the mixture. Do not fill the bowl fully as water may spill over the edges and cause unwanted mess. Once the bowl is prepared, submerge your face into the bowl and keep your eyes below the water surface. Then open your eyes and rotate them to ensure that as much of the eye as possible is exposed to the solution. After you have done this, lift your face from the water and blink a few times to evenly coat the surface of your eyes with moisture.

4. Try Tap Water

If you wish to know how to get something out of your eye, but you are unable to access the sterile eyewash, ordinary tap water can be used instead. When you get harmful chemicals within your eyes, your priority should be removing them with tap water. Running water can dilute the chemicals and reduce the potential hazard.

5. Flush for the Right Amount of Time

What gets in your eye determines how long you should flush them. For mild irritants and chemicals (such as soap), you should flush your eye for three to five minutes. For more severe yet still moderate irritants, such as hot peppers, you should flush your eye for ten to twenty minutes. The same duration is suggested when your eye is exposed to corrosive acids (such as battery acid). Medical attention is required afterwards. Penetrative corrosives, such as bleach, drain cleaner and ammonia, require the most flushing (sixty minutes). You should also seek medical attention immediately after flushing eyes thoroughly.

6. Wipe with a Cotton Swab or Tissue

After flushing thoroughly, you need to rub the edge of your eye with a cotton swab or tissue. Avoid making direct contact between your eye and the swab. Tissue may be less damaging when placed directly onto the whites of the eye. If you can see the foreign object in your eye, wet the tissue and gently dab it onto the object to extract it from your eye. This may cause some slight irritation which is usually of no concern.

7. Ask for Help

It can be very difficult to operate on your own eye. It might be a good idea to ask a friend or family member to inspect your eye. First, pull down your eye and look upwards. If nothing can be seen by the observer, then look down. If the object might be residing in the eyelid, you can place a cotton swab just above the upper eyelid and fold the eyelids onto it to expose the inner layer for inspection.

To learn more about how to get something out of your eye, watch the video below:


Rubbing your eyes is always a bad idea as this can scratch the cornea and it is often ineffective for removing foreign objects. Contact lenses should always be removed before flushing your eyes. Sharp equipment like tweezers and toothpicks should never be used to remove anything from the eyes as these will only cause more harm to the delicate area.

When to See a Doctor

Some discomfort is expected after a foreign object has been removed from the eye. If irritation persists for longer than a day after the object has been removed, you should visit your doctor. You should also visit the doctor if any of the following applies to you:

  • The object resides within the colored section of the eye.
  • The object is stuck and you are unable to remove it.
  • There is blood within the colored section of your eye.
  • You have removed the object, but you still feel severe or persistent pain, sensitivity to light, blurry vision or it still feels as though there is something in your eye.

How to Prevent Foreign Objects in Your Eye

When considering how to get something out of your eye, preventing the occurrence in the first place may be the best bet. Wear safety glasses and face mask when you work with power tools, toxic chemicals and do other activities that possess risks for foreign objects getting into your eyes. Use protective eyewear when you're playing vigorous sports such as hockey, football and racquetball to prevent eye injuries. 

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