Foreign Bodies in the Eyes

Though the eye can flush out small objects like dust and sand, other foreign objects may need more attention. Go to a well-lighted place to examine the eye. Instruct the child not to rub the eye. Hands should always be washed before touching the eye.

If the object cannot be seen, grasp the lower eyelid and gently pull down on it to look inside the lower eyelid. To look inside the upper lid, place a cotton-tipped swab on the outside of the upper lid and gently fold the lid over the cotton swab. If the object is on an eyelid, use eye drops or water to gently flush it out. If that fails, touch a second cotton swab to the object to remove it.

Do not treat it yourself if there is a lot of eye pain or sensitivity to light; vision is decreased; the eyes are red or painful; there is flaking, discharge, or a sore on the eye or lid; there is trauma to the eye; the eye is bulging or the lid is drooping; the eye is dry and does not get better with self-care within a few days. 

Contact your health care provider for further treatment.

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