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Object in the Eye: First Aid

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Object in the Eye: First Aid


These tips can help you remove an object from the eye. If you are caring for a child who can't hold still, have another adult help you.

  • Wash your hands before touching the eye.
  • Don't rub.

    Don't rub the eye since this can scratch the outer surface (cornea) of the eye. You may have to keep small children from rubbing their eyes.

  • Remove contacts.

    If you wear contact lenses, take your contacts out before you try to remove the object or flush the eye.

  • Check the location.
    • If an object is over the dark center (pupil) of the eye or over the colored part (iris) of the eye, you may try to flush it out gently with water. If the object does not come out with flushing, wear dark glasses and call your health professional. Do not put any pressure on the eye.
    • If the object is on the white part (sclera) of the eye or inside the lower lid, wet a cotton swab or the tip of a twisted piece of tissue and touch the end of it to the object. The object should cling to the swab or tissue. Some minor irritation is common after you have removed the object in this way.
    • Often the object may be under the upper eyelid and can be removed by lifting the upper lid away and gently flushing the eye with cool water. A clean eyedropper may help.
  • Use caution.

    Do not try to remove a piece of metal from your eye, an object that has punctured the eye, or an object stuck on the eye after flushing with water.

  • Avoid these.

    Never use tweezers, toothpicks, or other hard items to remove any object. Using these items could cause eye damage.

Related Information


Current as of: July 11, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

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