What to Do If You Get Debris Trapped on Your Eye

It's a common enough thing for people to go through: you're minding your own business when you suddenly sense something irritating on your eye. Whether it's as simple as an eyelash or a foreign bit of debris from somewhere else, nothing should be on the surface of your eye. How you react to this problem can either hurt or protect your vision, so follow these steps.

Never Touch the Surface of the Eye

Under no circumstances should you ever touch the surface of your eye. Doing so can transfer bacteria from your hands onto your eyes, where it can potentially harm you.

In addition, it's unfortunately easy to scratch the surface of your eye. You could do this by accident with a fingernail, or alternatively, by trying to drag the debris across your eye to remove it.

Flush Eye

Instead of touching your eye or reaching for the debris, flush it instead.

You can do this with plain tap water in a pinch, but saline solution intended for eyes is better. Look for plain eye drops or contact lens solution that's safe to use directly in your eye.

With your drops in hand, tip your head back and to the side of the eye that has the debris in it. Squeeze the bottle firmly and use a solid spray of liquid to flush your eye.


You should start blinking rapidly while you're still flushing your eye and continue to do so after you've stopped spraying. Blinking will disperse the fluid in your eye and help you to naturally push it out. After blinking repeatedly, look in the mirror to see if the debris is still there. If it's still there, repeat this process. Once it's gone, let your eye rest and avoid rubbing it to prevent further irritation.

When to Seek Help

If you don't experience relief from the above steps, visit an optometry office right away. Any kind of foreign material on the eye can potentially hurt you, and the longer you let it stay, the more likely it is that this will happen. Your eye doctor can examine your eye for damage caused by the object, and they can remove it with expert precision.

Flushing your eye out is the best possible way to remove any kind of debris, even if it's your own eyelashes. Remember these tips the next time you have this problem so that you don't end up harming your eyes.