In case you suspect that you or a family member has a foreign object in the eye, it is important to perform first aid measures at home right away in order to avoid infection and the possibility of damage to the vision.
A foreign object in the eye can range from eyelashes, dust, sand, sawdust, metal particles, cosmetics and dirt. These objects can enter the eye through daily activities and do not actually cause severe damage as long as they are quickly removed from the eye. In doing so, damage to the eye structures can be prevented.
Precautions if there is a foreign object in the eye
- Instruct the individual not to rub or apply pressure on the affected eye
- Avoid using any instruments or utensils such as cotton swabs or tweezers on the surface of the eye
- If the individual wears contact lenses, do not remove unless there is abrupt swelling or due to chemical injury
Preliminary steps before performing home care
- Always wash your hands thoroughly
- Check the affected eye in a location that has bright light
- When examining the eye, instruct the individual to look up while pulling the lower lid down and then instruct the individual to look down while flipping up the interior of the upper lid
Steps when removing a foreign object in the eye
Always remember that the safest method for removing a foreign object in the eye tends to differ depending on the type of object being removed and its location in the eye.
The most common location for foreign objects is under the upper eyelid. If this is the case, there are steps to follow:
- Initially immerse the side of the face of the individual in a flat container of water. Once the affected eye is underwater, instruct the individual to open and close the eye several times in order to flush out the foreign object.
- Similar results can be achieved if an eyecup will be used. An eyecup can be purchased in any drugstore.
- In case the object is still embedded, simply pull out the upper lid and stretch it over the lower lid in order to loosen the object.
Foreign object lodged beneath the lower eyelid
- You have to pull out the lower lid or press down on the skin beneath the eyelid in order to see underneath it.
- If the foreign object is visible, you can tap it using a damp cotton swab.
- In case the object is difficult to remove, you can flush it out by using flowing water on the eyelids while holding it open.
- An eyecup can also be used to flush out the object.
In case there are several miniature fragments from a particular substance such as sand, it is important to flush them out instead of removing them one at a one.
- With a wet cloth, use it to remove any particles for the surrounding area of the affected eye.
- Immerse the side of the face of the individual that has the affected eye in a flat container of water. Once the eye is submerged in water, instruct the individual to open and close the eye several times in order to flush out the particles.
- For young children, simply pour a glass of warm water into the eye while holding the child face up. Keep the eyelid open while pouring water into the eye to flush out the particles.