Here’s Exactly What to Do If Something’s Stuck in Your Eye | SELF

When it feels like a foreign body is in your eye, ask yourself if you’ve been dealing with other symptoms of dry eye or blepharitis like itchiness, redness, weird discharge, or a burning sensation. If so, one or both of these conditions might be the cause. Either way, following the usual aaah-something-annoying-is-in-my-eye protocol can help you gather more clues as to what you’re dealing with.

Blinking a few times is a good, totally non-invasive place to start, Dr. Anchala says. Though it seems minimal, blinking spreads tears across the surface of your eyeballs and may help wash out whatever irritant is in there, she explains. No dice? It’s time to step up your game and irrigate your eye, which sounds scarier than it really is. It essentially means you’re flushing out whatever is in there with a stream of clean water.

First, wash your hands with soap and water. If you’re wearing contacts, now is the time to remove them, or at least the one in the affected eye. Sometimes things can get embedded under the surface of contact lenses in the irrigation process, the Mayo Clinic says.

To irrigate your eye, you don’t need to somehow Cirque du Soleil yourself so your head is underneath your sink faucet. Instead, the Mayo Clinic recommends resting the rim of a small, clean drinking glass containing water against the bone right underneath your eye socket, then pouring the water over your eyeball. Depending on how urgently your eye is bothering you, you can also take the time to buy a device known as an eyecup that’s made specifically for flushing out eyes.

If none of those options are your speed, you can hop into the shower and direct a gentle stream of water onto your forehead, holding your eyelid open so that the liquid drips down into your eye. And, if thoroughly rinsing out your eye in some form or another doesn’t help with the foreign body sensation—or if you think you got the object out but you’re dealing with issues like pain and redness—you should see a medical professional for evaluation.

Even though rubbing your eyes in this case can feel like pure instinct, take a hard pass. “Rubbing the eyes can drag the foreign body on the surface of the cornea and cause an abrasion,” Dr. Shibayama says. Completely cringe-worthy, completely avoidable in this instance if you can keep your hands away from your fragile eyes.

Also, step away from the Q-tips, tweezers, or anything else you’re considering sticking in your eye to fish out the intruder. Yes, this even includes your fingers. All of these objects can seriously harm your eye by scraping up your delicate tissue, Dr. Anchala says. You might wind up with even more pain and problems on your hands—or, rather, in your eyes—which is probably the exact opposite of what you want.


  • 15 Dry Eye Symptoms You Should Know About—and How to Handle Them
  • 10 Symptoms of Blepharitis, a Bizarre Condition That Can Affect Your Eyes
  • 9 Health Issues That Can Cause Sensitivity to Light

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