In most cases of minor eye irritants, they are usually flushed out of the eye with tears and blinking. When it comes to cases in which a foreign object in the eye could not be removed with tears or blinking, you should be familiar with the appropriate steps to take.
Avoid rubbing the eyes
When to seek medical care
When treating a foreign object in the eye, it usually depends on the location of the foreign object and whether or not it is embedded in the eyeball or simply floating on the surface.
Objects that are impaled or embedded in the eyeball require immediate medical care and the removal process should be left to the healthcare professionals. Understandably, you have to call for emergency assistance or bring the individual to the nearest emergency department. Other types of eye irritation that requires medical attention include the following:
- Drooping eyelids
- Swollen or bulging eyeballs
- Ulcers, sores or discharge from the eye or eyelid
- Abrupt loss of vision or light sensitivity
Dealing with minor cases of foreign object in the eye
If there is no serious trauma involved such as an arrow, nail or other pointed object, there are measures to consider that can be done at home without seeking medical care.
Find the foreign object
Oftentimes, the individual can feel something irritating in the eye before he/she knows what it is. The removal usually depends on what the object is and its location in the eyeball. Just remember though that if the individual has been working in an environment involving metal, there is likelihood that metal shavings are responsible for irritating the eye. Remember not to take out the metal particles and bring the individual to the hospital.
Before starting, you have to wash your hands carefully. Simply assume that you and the individual are in the same area, you have to avoid introducing more irritants to the eye while checking the ones that are causing the problem.
You can pull up a chair and stay in a well-lit area. There should be plenty of light and a small flashlight can be used such as a penlight. Check the whites of the eyes. Take note that this is the best bet for being able to remove the object. Try to expose as much of the white area as possible by pulling down the lower lid gently and instruct the individual to look up. You can repeat in the reverse by lifting the upper lid and instruct him/her to look down. Do not forget to check the sides by instructing the individual to look right and left.
As long as you are gentle, you can place a cotton swab against the upper lid and roll it up and away from the eyeball to help locate the foreign object in the eye. Oftentimes, this helps see objects that get stuck on the eyelid itself.