How to Properly Remove Something From Your Eye


Having a foreign object, such as an eyelash or a grain of sand moving around in your eye or under your eye lid can be one of the most irritating feelings ever. Removing this debris can be as simple as blinking a couple of extra times but in other cases where the debris is lodged in a difficult spot a more robust effort needs to be undertaken to get rid of the irritant. Below we will review different methods that a person can safely use to remove irritating debris while also indicating what not to do during the process.

1) Rinse With Water: Use clean water such as mineral or bottled water when using this method. If you do not have mineral or bottled water available you can also use tap water (as long as your tap water is treated and filtered properly). The best method is to cup your hand and splash the water into the irritated eye. Most of the time this method works well and seamlessly flushes the debris out. If this method does not work you can resort to a gentler method by filling up a bowl with water and submerging the eye. Inevitably the act of submerging your eye under water will likely help flush the debris out.

2) Saline Solution: If the method above yields no results you can use saline solution as a possible solution. Unlike the method above, saline solution provides a little more pressure during the rinsing process which may help dislodge and remove the foreign object.

3) Q-Tip: This method should only be used if the above two do not succeed. It is never prescribed to introduce foreign objects into the eye especially for the purpose of attempting to dislodge another foreign object. However, if you are unable to rinse the debris out you may need this more aggressive approach. Once you have located the debris use a Q-Tip, with the cotton tip having been wet with bottled or filtered water try to gently wipe away the debris. It is important to highlight the fact that the key to success here is a steady hand and extreme caution when applying pressure onto the eye with the Q-Tip. If you doubt having steady enough hands as well as the ability to apply measured pressure onto the eye this method may not be a suitable option for you.

4) Use Your Finger: This method is probably the most popular when dealing with unwanted eye debris. Using your finger to guide the debris to the corner of your eye where it can be more easily and safely wiped away comes to most of us second nature. Placing your finger on the affected eye’s lid and targeting the location where the object is located is the first step. Then maneuvering the debris to the corner of your eye may help you more easily wipe it away. Of greatest importance with this recommendation is to make sure that your hands are clean. The last thing that you want to do is to introduce additional debris or irritants into your eye.

5) Sleep On It: Surprisingly there are times when the best course of action is to do nothing at all. Simply going to sleep might be the answer. Your eyes are designed to naturally flush foreign objects out. It is possible that your eye will naturally flush the irritant out while you sleep.

6) Consult a Doctor: If none of the above methods work or if your eye is becoming incredibly irritated the safest and best option is to consult an eye doctor.

Your eye tissue is incredibly sensitive and therefore requires care when dealing with it. If you have debris in your eye such as an eye lash it is important not to do the following:

1) DO NOT Use Tweezers: Tweezers are sharp and pointy objects that could in fact cause more damage to your eye. You should never use hard, blunt or sharp objects on your eyes.

2) DO NOT Have Others Remove It: You do not have control over how third parties may address the issue, they may unintentionally cause more discomfort or make the situation worse. Unless the third party is a doctor avoid having someone else directly contacting your eye.

3) DO NOT Excessively Rub Your Eyes: Although it is a reflex to rub your eyes doing so could cause additional irritation by applying pressure on the debris in your eye. The debris could scratch your eye when it is moved around by the rubbing possibly further damaging the eye tissue.

Safely removing debris from your eye is an important action. It can help avoid causing further damage and decrease irritation to the eye tissue. The above suggestions may work well when dealing with rather non-invasive debris such as an eyelash, however if the irritant is more serious it is important to contact your eye doctor to seek their advice and recommendation.

Bucky LaFountain
August 1, 2017


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