The eyes are one of the most delicate parts of the human body, so injuries to this vital organ should be treated promptly and accurately in order to prevent serious damage or permanent loss of vision.
Most people know that even a tiny speck of sand in the eye can feel like a razor blade. So, a more serious injury such as a cut on the cornea, a black eye, or a piece of foreign object in your eye, is a problem that should always be checked out by a physician. Try to get an appointment to see your own family physician or regular eye doctor if you can, but if not, an urgent care center or emergency room is a good second choice. However, for serious injuries, you should never, ever try to treat the problem on your own.
Minor irritations, such as flecks of dirt, rogue eyelashes, or wayward bugs, can easily get into your eye and cause irritation. Tiny things that get in your eye, usually feel much bigger, and are much more irritating than they would feel on any other part of your body. A small foreign object can also cause redness, a burning sensation when you blink, or sensitivity to light. These symptoms almost always, make you want to rub your eye – but don’t! Rubbing an irritated eye can make things worse or even cause permanent damage.
Every time you get something in your eye, it needs to be removed. However, emergency medical attention is of particular importance if your vision is affected. If your vision is blurry or you see light specks, waves, or darkness in your field of vision, then you need to see a doctor immediately. If another person has a foreign object in their eye, you may be able to help them by flushing their eye with cool, clean water. If you’re not near a sink, you can use a glass, pitcher, or eye dropper. If you can see the object and it is on the eyeball surface, flushing should remove it.
If you can’t see the object on the surface of the eyeball, then it may be stuck beneath the eyelid. Have the person lie down beneath a good light, or position a flashlight, so it shines on the eye but leaves both your hands free. Have the person look upwards, and then, gently pull his lower eyelid downward. If you see a particle on the inside of the eyelid or on the lower part of the eyeball, you can flush it out with water in an eyedropper, or touch a moistened cotton swab or gauze strip gently to the eye so that it adheres and can be removed.
If you don’t see anything on the lower eyelid, then check the upper eyelid. An easy way to lift the upper eyelid is to take a cotton swab, place it on top of the eyelid, and gently curl the eyelashes and upper eyelid over the swab. Take care not to strain the eyelid while pulling. If you can see the object on the inside of the eyelid or on the surface of the eyeball, try to flush it out with water while you hold the curled swab in place. If flushing doesn’t work, you can gently touch the speck with a moist cotton swab to see if the cotton can pick it up.
If a foreign object in the eye doesn’t flush out with water, then you should cover both the eyes with gauze, gently, and seek medical help immediately. It may seem odd to cover both eyes, if only one is affected, but the reason makes perfect sense. Your eyes don’t work independently; they operate in conjunction with each other. So, if you leave one eye uncovered, then covering the other eye does no good because it will still be moving in concert with the uncovered eye. If you cover both eyes, you are essentially keeping them closed, thereby preventing movement. Keeping the eyes as still as possible, not only prevents further irritation, but also helps to calm and soothe the nerves that are certainly on the edge because of the pain and irritation in the eyes. Also, being sure that both eyes are covered, will minimize damages, if there is an object embedded in the eyeball.
Your eyes are delicate and usually irreplaceable, so you need to treat them with care. It is common to get something in your eye now and then, however, if you don’t know how to safely handle the problem, your eyesight may suffer for the rest of your life. Try these simple tips for flushing foreign objects out, however, if your eye is still irritated or inflamed, cover both eyes and seek medical help immediately.