4. Try soft, sanitary tools
Unfortunately, blinking and tearing up are not always enough to remove foreign bodies from the eye. For larger objects like hair or insects, using a clean, unused tissue or cotton swab can help. The fibers of these can effectively grab or push away the debris. Make gentle dabbing or sweeping motions while holding the tissue or cotton swab at an angle. Avoid injury to the eye by using a mirror and standing or sitting still. Do not touch the tip of the tissue or cotton, as this can introduce germs.
5. Ask for help
Finally, asking for help is how to get something out of your eye safely, especially if both eyes are affected. Some people are afraid or creeped out by touching their own eyes, so it may be hard to do some of these tips in that case. Asking for help is important if you were exposed to a chemical. While doing the eyewash, your friend should be in charge of contacting your doctor or emergency services if necessary. Additionally, they can see foreign debris more clearly than only using a mirror alone. Be sure that they thoroughly wash and dry their hands before attempting to assist you.
Do NOT do these things:
1. Do not blow on the eye
Blowing on the eye to remove debris is a fairly common practice that is also a myth. Using air from a hairdryer or another person’s mouth is potentially unsanitary and may dry the eyes out. As mentioned above, tears are a natural mechanism of the eyes to clear out foreign objects. Dry eyes create more irritation and increase the likelihood of corneal abrasions.
2. Do not use bare hands or hard tools
Never touch or rub your eyes with your hands, especially if they are not clean. This is especially true if you wear contact lenses and plan to remove them. Doing so may introduce unwanted germs and dirt and cause more irritation.
Additionally, do not use hard tools like toothpicks or tweezers to remove objects. Not only are they sharp, but their surfaces may be uneven or unsanitary. These can cause worse corneal abrasions or puncture wounds than the original foreign object.
4. Do not wash with other liquids
Lastly, only use water or normal saline solution when doing an eyewash. Clean, purified water is ideal, but tap water can suffice in emergency situations. Never use water that is hot, discolored, or has insoluble particles in it. Eye drops are useful to increase moisture and lubricate the eyes, however, a bottle does not contain enough volume to effectively wash out the eye for 5 to 20 minutes.
Additionally, do not use other sources of water such as sea water, pool water, or rainwater. Liquids like tea, coffee, juice, or sports drinks are also not recommended.
In summary, knowing how to get something out of your eye properly can prevent damage to your eyes. Follow these tips next time you feel something bothering your eye. If symptoms persist or get worse, talk to a doctor or seek medical attention immediately.
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