Dust, grit, pollen, shampoo, household spices, and other irritants can easily get in your eye. When that happens, it’s good to flush out your eyes as quickly as possible.
Flushing will help remove the irritant and bring relief to your eye. It will also ensure that the irritant doesn't scratch the delicate surface of your eye and cause pain or redness.
When flushing your eye, it’s good to keep in mind a few safety tips. You don’t want to rub away the irritant or pull it with tweezers. You also have to wash your hands well with lukewarm rather than hot water before you begin flushing.
Read on for an easy step-by-step guide on how to flush out your eye at home.
How to Flush Out Your Eye Step-by-Step
If you feel pain while blinking or moving your eye, or if a chemical substance comes in contact with your eye, quickly flush it.
The best way to flush your eye is from the inner corner of your eye towards the outer corner. This will prevent the irritant from washing into the other eye.
Step 1 – Wash Your Hands
Before touching your eyes, make sure your hands are clean. Otherwise, harmful particles and even chemicals you were handling before can enter your eyes.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Use a clean cloth or towel to wipe them dry.
Step 2 – Check What Is in Your Eye
If you accidentally got harsh chemicals or stinging spices in your eye, flush the eyes with water as soon as possible. But if you’re not sure what’s causing the itchiness, redness, or pain, examine your eye closely.
Stand in front of a mirror in a well-lit place. Gently pull your eyelids apart to see the foreign object in your eye. Look up, down, and side by side to figure out what it is: an eyelash, makeup, mucus, dirt, sand, and so on.
Tip: It's good to know what to do in an eye emergency.
Step 3 – Determine How Long to Flush Your Eyes
Depending on what’s in your eye, you will know how long it will take to flush it out completely. For tiny particles and objects, flush your eye until you start feeling comfortable blinking and moving your eye again.
For mildly irritating chemicals, like hand soap or shampoo, flush your eye for five minutes. If you have severe irritants like red chili or black pepper powder in your eye, a twenty-minute flushing should be enough to get rid of them.
For harsh chemicals and acids, like bleach and ammonia, spend at least sixty minutes flushing your eyes. You may also need medical aid if flushing your eye at home does not help.
Step 4 – Flush Out Your Eyes
There are many ways to flush out your eye, from standing in the shower to bending over the sink. Take a look at the different ways below. The best way to flush your eye is the method you’re most comfortable with.
- Stand in the shower and let lukewarm or cool water run down your eye. Make sure the pressure of the shower is low. Keep your eyes open for long periods while you are flushing them out. This method is recommended if you have shampoo or soap in your eye.
- Fill a bowl with clean water. Make sure it’s warm and not hot. Now, dip your face into the water and start blinking and rotating your eyes. Lift your face and blink a few times. Repeat until you feel relief in your eyes. You can use this method to flush out tiny contaminants or particles like pollen and sand.
- You can also bend your face over the sink. Turn on the faucet at low pressure. Tilt your head to one side and keep your eye under the running water. Alternatively, you can bend over the sink and pour warm water into your eye. Use a pitcher or mug for the purpose.
- Or you can use a cup with an eye flush solution to remove the contaminant. Eye flush solutions are best to relieve stinging and burning caused by air pollution, smoke, or chlorinated water. But don’t use this method if you have a particle in your eye.
Step 5 – Blink Your Eyes
After you have flushed your eye, pat your face dry with a clean towel and blink your eye. See if your eyes feel comfortable. Is there any pain or itching? You can also try rolling your eye in different directions.
If all feels fine, you’ve successfully flushed out your eyes. If not, repeat the step above and flush your eye for a few more minutes.
Step 6 – Seek Medical Help
If you are not able to flush your eye or are still experiencing pain, redness, or blurry vision, seek immediate medical help.
The particle may be embedded in your eye. Or the chemical substance may not respond to water and form a layer over your eye. Have an eye doctor examine your eye and offer you the best solution.
Bear in mind that not all hospitals provide emergency eye trauma care. Call your eye doctor or else visit the nearest emergency room.
Safety Tips While Flushing Eyes
While flushing your eye, there are a few safety tips you must keep in mind. These tips will help bring quick relief and ensure that you don’t hurt your eye while flushing it.
1. Don’t Rub Your Eye
If you feel a dust particle or debris irritating your eye, don’t try to rub it away. Doing so will push it deeper into your eye. It may even scratch the cornea, the delicate surface of your eye.
Instead, wash your hands and rinse your eyes with clean water. Do it until your eye feels comfortable again.
2. Don’t Use Hot Water
Before flushing your eyes, check the water temperature with your finger. Use lukewarm or cool water, whatever you’re most comfortable with.
But don’t flush your eye with hot water. Your eye and the area around it are extremely delicate. Using hot water can sting your eye.
3. Don’t Remove an Embedded Particle
If you can’t flush out a particle from your eye, it’s most likely embedded on the surface of your eye. Don’t try to pluck it with a pair of tweezers or remove it with a dampened cotton swab.
Put a paper cup over your eye and tape it shut. This will restrict eye movement and chances of you touching it. Then seek emergency medical assistance as quickly as possible.
4. Remove Contact Lenses While Flushing
If you are wearing contact lenses, gently remove them even as you are flushing your eye. Sometimes, a particle, such as mucus or eyelash, can be stuck to the inner surface of the contact lens. Removing your lens will help you get rid of the particle.
Flushing out eyes can help relieve mild discomfort from a dust particle or eyelash floating in your eye. It’s also an important first aid measure for serious chemical accidents. Often, it will help you get rid of the unpleasant sensations in your eyes.
Once flushed, blink your eyes or rotate them in different directions. If you feel comfortable doing that without pain or irritation, you have flushed your eye well. If not, flush them again or seek immediate medical assistance.