Eye wellness

Something stuck in eye? Here’s what to do

Back to the articles

“Ugh, it feels like something is in my eye!” We know it’s one of the worst sensations. Getting even the tiniest particle from eyelashes to bugs to dust in your eye can derail your entire day. Having something is stuck in your eye can be irritating or even painful. Hopefully, blinking and your natural tears will wash the item out.

If this doesn’t work, we have a few tips on how to get stuff out of your eye that you can try.

How to get stuff out of your eye

Before you do anything, here are a few things to remember so that you don’t cause more harm than good to your eyes:

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes: rubbing your eyes as a way to get whatever is stuck out can lead to a corneal abrasion. This scrape on the surface of your eye can lead to infection and cause permanent damage to your eye health and vision.
  • Avoid touching your eye with cotton swabs or cloth, and you should never attempt to pull anything out using sharp instruments like tweezers.
  • Wash your hands beforehand before attempting to remove something from your eye.

If you wear contacts, the feeling that you have something stuck in your eye can be a torn contact lens or a lens that’s been put on incorrectly. Remove your contact lenses immediately to prevent damage from scratches or tears, and put in a fresh pair.

But what about getting debris out of your eyes? Try cleansing your eye with fresh water or saline solution. When using water, get a container or eye cup with liquid (you can get eye cups at the drugstore) and put your eye against it to seal against your face. Stand over the sink. Tilt your head to the side while slowly pouring the water, letting it flow into your eyes

Sometimes it might be necessary for you to enlist the help of someone else to gently flush water or saline over your eye. Tilt your head to the side and keep your eye open as someone pours saline or water over your eyes from the side.

After you've flushed the irritant from your eye, you should start feeling better within an hour or two.

Dirt in eyeball: what to do

If you are uncomfortable flushing your eye with the above method, try these other methods to remove irritants from your eyes.

If you’ve got something stuck in your upper eyelid, pull your upper eyelid over your lower eyelid, and release it. The speck may show as your upper eyelid pulls back.

If the speck is in your lower eyelid, look up as you pull the lower lid down. If you can see the particle, you can flush it out by standing under the shower and letting the water run down from your forehead over your eyes.

Something is stuck in my eye and won't come out

Injury to your eyes is serious, and if you're working in an environment with chemicals, glass or wood, safety glasses are the best way to protect your eyes from harm. But accidents can happen.

In a case where you have been exposed to a harsh chemical, flush your eyes with water immediately for 15 minutes, then go to an emergency center.

If something is embedded in your eye, seek medical assistance immediately! Don’t try removing it yourself.

If you tried washing your eyes out and still feel like there's something in your eye, or if the pain or irritation worsens, or your eyesight changes, see a doctor immediately. Taking care of your eyes can prevent damage or vision loss.