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First Aid for Foreign Object in the Eye

Last updated March 5, 2018

MarLeah Cole

Foreign object in the eye is the presence of a foreign body/object in a person’s eye. A contact lens is one of the objects individuals insert into their eye that can cause irritation.


What is Foreign Object in the Eye?

  • It is the presence of a foreign body/object in the eye of an individual. This may range from dust, to sand particles, or even a tiny piece of wood or metal
  • The condition can lead to watery eyes, redness, and pain. In most cases, Foreign Objects in the Eye may be easily removed at home, since they are small and harmless

What are the Causes of Foreign Object in the Eye?

Foreign Objects in the Eye that get accidentally inserted include:

  • Debris
  • Glass
  • Dirt
  • Contact lens
  • Eyelash
  • Make-up
  • Metal pieces

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Foreign Object in the Eye?

The signs and symptoms of Foreign Object in the Eye include:

  • Pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Sensitivity to light

How is First Aid administered for Foreign Object in the Eye?

First Aid tips for Foreign Object in the Eye include:

  • Wash your hands (this applies to those volunteering to help too)
  • Move the person to a well-lit area
  • Examine the eye
  • Try to flush out the eye with clean, warm water or saline solution, if the object is found floating
  • DO NOT rub the eyes
  • DO NOT remove the object, if it is embedded in the eyeball
  • DO NOT remove large objects (if any found)

Seek immediate medical attention if:

  • The foreign body cannot be removed
  • Pain persist, or the condition worsens
  • Object is embedded in the eyeball
  • There is abnormal or blurry vision
  • Scratching sensation continues

Who should administer First Aid for Foreign Object in the Eye?

First Aid can be administered by the person themselves, or by someone nearby.

What is the Prognosis of Foreign Object in the Eye?

The prognosis for Foreign Object in the Eye is generally good. 

How can Foreign Object in the Eye be Prevented?

Use protective eye-wear during work, or while performing laboratory experiments.

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Wash hands before attempting to retrieve foreign object from the eye
  • Assess severity and if serious call 911; or contact your emergency medical help number

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?


References and Information Sources used for the Article:


Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:


Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Oct. 15, 2013
Last updated: March 5, 2018