Sight is undoubtedly one of the most crucial senses. In fact, it’s how you perceive up to 80 percent of all your impressions. So when you get something stuck in your eye, you need to stay calm and be careful to avoid hurting your vision.
The most common foreign bodies that people get stuck in their eye are small, non-sharp fragments like dirt or eyelashes. In most cases, these objects are relatively harmless. However, if they’re not removed properly, they could cause damage to your vision — both short term and long term.
Here are some do’s and don’ts to follow if you or someone you know gets something stuck in an eye.
DON’T Rub Your Eye
When most people feel something stuck in their eye, their first reaction is to rub it away. However, while this may feel instinctive, you shouldn’t do it. Go against your gut reaction, and avoid applying any pressure to your eye. If you do rub it, you could easily damage your cornea.
The cornea is the clear, outermost layer that covers the front of your eye, helping you focus your vision. While the cornea does a great job of protecting the rest of your eye, the layer itself is delicate. Rubbing your eye when a foreign body is in it will press that object closer against your cornea, which can cause an uncomfortable scratch.
Known as corneal abrasions, these scratches can cause pain and light sensitivity for quite some time, taking a while to heal. Serious corneal abrasions can even have a long-term effect on your vision.
DON’T Use Tools to Get It Out
If you got something small stuck in your skin (for example, a wood splinter), you’d likely try using tweezers to pull it out. However, while this is relatively safe on most parts of your body, you should never use tools like tweezers to pull a foreign body out of the eye.
Just like rubbing your eye can cause serious abrasions, so can metal tweezers. Sharp tools aren’t the only things to avoid, however. Even something as soft and seemingly harmless as a cotton swab shouldn’t be put in your eye. While a swab probably won’t cause a scratch on its own, it could easily rub the foreign body into your eye or introduce bacteria.
Abrasions aside, poking anything near your eyes without anatomical know-how is a recipe for disaster. Poke too hard and you could seriously and permanently damage your vision. When you have a foreign body in your eye, the only thing that should touch that eye is water. In many cases, immersing your eye in a container of water or saline and blinking several times will flush out the object that was stuck there.
DO Call a Home Doctor
If the foreign body won’t come out of your eye with water, the best thing to do is get a doctor’s help to remove it. Attempting to remove it alone could be even more harmful than the object itself. Of course, you can’t drive safely when your vision is impaired by a foreign object.
Thankfully, you don’t need to be able to get to your local clinic to see a doctor — you can call one to visit you at home.
A home doctor can visit you after hours and remove the foreign body from your eye for you. Doctors know how to remove these objects safely and carefully using sterile cotton swabs, anaesthetic drops, safe eye dye and other medical equipment.
To get help from a highly qualified, experienced and helpful on-call doctor in the comfort of your home, call Hello Home Doctor Service.