A foreign object in the eye can be managed at home. You can care for minor debris at home. In case there is difficulty in the removal of a foreign object in the eye or if a bigger or pointed object is involved, seek medical care.
In case the individual is using contact lens, it must be removed before attempting to remove the foreign body. It is not advisable to place the contact lens back into the eye until it is fully healed.
Minor foreign bodies
This can be an eyelash that can be managed at home.
- Rinse the eye using saline solution. Tap water or distilled water can be used if saline solution is not on hand.
- Hold a glass of water to the eye and tilt the head backwards. This should be done several times.
- If a shower is available, the individual should get in and position the eye under the running water.
- When working outside, a garden hose at a steady flow can be used to flush out the eye.
In case washing the eye is not effective, the object can be removed using the tip of a tissue or cotton swab.
- Draw back the eyelid by tugging down the bottom lower lid or by drawing up the upper lid.
- Ask the individual to look upwards when checking for a foreign body in the eye below the lower lid.
- Ask the individual to look down when assessing for an object under the upper lid.
- You should be careful not to scrape the cotton swab or cotton across the cornea
For bigger objects or metal fragments, it is best to seek medical attention even if you can safety remove them at home.
- In case the object is readily accessible and has not yet penetrated the eyeball, it can be removed using a tissue or cotton swab.
- If the object is suspected to have penetrated the eye, do not attempt to remove the object. If the object could not be removed or there is a continuous sensation of something in the eye, seek medical care.
Once the foreign object in the eye is removed, expect the eye to be reddened and teary.
- Instruct the individual to avoid rubbing the eye or apply any pressure.
- Do not place pressure on the injured eye since it can lead to further injury. Avoid taping over or patching the eye.