Knowing what to do for an eye emergency can save valuable time and possibly prevent vision loss. There are several simple first aid steps that can be taken until medical assistance is obtained.

Chemical burns to the Eye

  • Immediately flush the eye with water for at least 15 minutes. Hold the eye under a faucet or shower, or pour water into the eye using a clean container. Keep the eye open and as wide as possible while flushing.
  • If you are wearing contact lenses, do not wait to remove the lenses. Begin flushing over the lens immediately. This may wash out the lens.
  • DO NOT try to neutralize the chemical with other substances.
  • DO NOT bandage the eye.
  • Seek immediate medical care attention after flushing.

Particles in the Eye

  • DO NOT rub the eye
  • Try to let your tears wash the speck out or irrigate the eye with an artificial tear solution.
  • Try lifting the upper eyelid outward and down over the lower lid to remove the particle.
  • If the speck does not wash out, keep the eye closed, bandage it lightly and seek a medical care

Blows to the Eye

  • Gently apply a cold compress without putting pressure on the eye. Crushed ice in the plastic bag can be placed gently on the injured eye to reduce pain and swelling.
  • In cases of pain, reduced vision, or discoloration (black eye), seek emergency medical care. Any of these symptoms could mean internal eye damage.

Cuts and punctures to the Eye or Eyelid

  • DO NOT wash out the eye with water or any liquid
  • DO NOT try to remove an object that is stuck in the eye
  • Cover the eye with a rigid shield without applying pressure. The bottom half of a paper cup can be used.
  • Seek immediate medical care.