Six Surefire Methods for Removing an Object From Your Eye

Small objects, such as eyelashes, can become lodged in the eye, and while blinking may be sufficient to remove them, there are a few other methods you can try in a pinch.

Essentially, you should remember these key points:

  • Don't freak out if you accidentally get something in your eye. Usually, the natural tears in your eye will be sufficient to remove the debris.

  • One option for removing a foreign body from the eye is to use water. In some cases, rinsing the eye with water or saline can help.

  • If your eye discomfort and tears last longer than a few hours, you should probably see an eye doctor.  

Man rubbing his eye with his hand as if there’s something stuck in it. He is outside in a park and holding a tissue in one hand. Illustration by ProfessionalStudioImages/E courtesy of Getty Images

Most people know all too well the agony of having something land in their eye. As a result, everything halts until you release it. Your eyelashes and eyelids naturally protect your eyes. Larger objects are easily swept away by your blink reflex.  

While larger objects may be blocked by the screen, smaller ones can sneak through. The setting doesn't matter, be it a cozy living room or a windy, dusty outdoor area. An additional route for foreign bodies to enter the eye is through the practice of rubbing the eyelids with a dirty hand.

Exactly what takes place if something gets into your eye

If something gets in your eye, it tends to stay there. These are some of the possible hiding spots for it:

  • Just below your lash lines

  • At the level of the conjunctiva (the clear covering of the eye).

  • The outermost layer of the eye, the cornea, is completely transparent.

An extensive nerve network in the eye regulates sensory input and the blink reflex. In terms of nerve endings per square centimeter, the cornea has the highest concentration. In fact, its sensitivity is 300–600 times that of human skin.  

I think this is a positive development. If you don't have this level of sensitivity, you won't be able to feel when something harmful goes into your eye. Corneas are designed to prevent damage to the eye and subsequent vision loss.

What kinds of things typically become lodged in the eye?

A person's eye can be severely irritated and even produce tears if any number of different objects enter the eye. It's usually your own eyelash that's to blame.

Things like these can also get caught in your eye and cause irritation.

  • Dirt

  • Metallized fragments

  • Pollen 

  • Hairs from various animals

  • Bugs 

  • Corrective eyewear

  • Dried mucus

  • Discreet Ingredients in Your Makeup

Here are 6 methods to remove an object from your eye.

Any foreign bodies that may have entered your eye will be washed away by your tears. Other debris can be softly brushed away with a clean finger. The trick is to avoid damaging the cornea of the eye while doing it.  

Attempt these simple suggestions at your abode:

  1. Ensure that your eyesight isn't impaired. Locate a mirror in an area that is both brightly lit and comfortable for you to look at yourself.

  2. Do some hand washing. This is crucial for eradicating contaminants and avoiding disease.

  3. Check out your eyes from every angle The whites of the eyes (cornea and conjunctiva) and the space beneath the eyelids Using your index finger, gently pull your lower eyelid down and away from the eyeball in order to peek underneath. Investigate this lower sleeve for debris. If the pain is located above the eye, try lifting the upper lid slightly away from the eye.

  4. Keep your head turned in all directions. This could make it easier to spot previously hidden details.

  5. Be gentle If something gets stuck on the white of your eye, you should try to remove it by touching it gently and lifting it straight off. If something is bothering your vision and you can't seem to get it out of the center of your eye, try blinking a few times.

  6. Purge the lens Put simply, you can begin by splashing water in your eye while standing over the sink. A small cup of water or saline eye wash can also be used. While keeping your face down, rest the cup's rim over your eye. Quickly tilt your head back and leave your eye open so the water from the cup can run into it. It's fine to do this as often as needed.

Where should I look and what shouldn't I do if I have something embedded in my eye?

If you get something stuck in your eye, there are some things you shouldn't do. It's important to keep in mind what not to do:

  • Don't use tweezers or any other sharp instrument near your eye to extract a speck. It's tough to tell how far away your hand is from your eyeball when looking in the mirror.  

  • Corneal Touching: Keep your fingers away from the whites of your eyes. It's excruciating, and you risk scratching your cornea if you continue. Direct contact with the cornea can cause an abrasion even with a cotton swab.

  • Getting something in your eye and immediately rubbing your lids together can cause tiny scratches on the surface of your eye, similar to what would happen if you were to rub your arms across your face.

When does an eye get better after being irritated?

Overnight or even within a few hours, an irritated eye can usually recover from the irritation that caused it. It may take up to two days for severe irritation to subside.

Even if the foreign object is removed, the eye may continue to feel irritated. Artificial tears and lubricating drops are available over-the-counter and can help alleviate eye discomfort. Potentially, they can aid in a more rapid recovery.

Keep away from eye drops that claim to eliminate redness. When used frequently, these can aggravate existing eye irritation.

Schedule an appointment with your eye doctor if the irritation lasts longer than a day or two. A qualified optometrist will:

  • If you think there might be something tiny on your eye's surface, you can check for it with a microscope.

  • Look for both big and little things under your eyelids.

  • Examine the front of your eye for any abrasions.

  • Examine for signs of infection

  • Eliminate other possible irritants.

If something remains in your eye, doctors have tools to safely and effectively remove it.

And what else besides that can make it feel like something is embedded in your eyeball?  

The sensation of something being stuck in one's eye can be caused by a number of different eye conditions. Therefore, if the symptoms persist, an eye exam should be scheduled. Some possible instances are:

Remove a foreign body from your eye with a few easy at-home tricks. To avoid further irritation or injury to the eyes, please be patient and gentle. Most microscopic debris can be washed away by crying. But if the debris is particularly tenacious, you may need to wash your eyes.  

Seeing an eye doctor should be done if the symptoms persist. You can get the best treatment possible and help determining the root of your symptoms from these professionals.

GoodRx Health adheres to stringent sourcing policies and draws exclusively from primary sources like hospitals, universities, government agencies, and scholarly journals. See our editorial guidelines for more information on how we maintain objectivity, thorough coverage, and accuracy throughout all of our work.

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