Eye injuries or pain frequently require a visit to your medical provider. One of the most common causes of eye pain is a chemical or object, such as dirt, in the eye. This can cause irritation and damage to the cornea (the clear covering of the eye). Other causes of eye pain are sudden vision problems include glaucoma (elevated pressure in the eye), retinal detachment (detachment of a deep inner lining in the eye), and problems with blood flow and nerves to and from the eye.
Always wear eye protection when using chemicals or cleaning products, or when using any type of machinery or gardening equipment.
For objects in the eye:
- Wait for your natural tearing, which will wash away most small objects, to cleanse the eye.
- Gently rinse the eye with water or neutral saline eye drops (e.g. natural tears) if natural tearing is insufficient to cleanse away the object.
- Softly touch the object with a moist piece of cotton if it is clinging to the eyelid or the white of the eye.
- Avoid scraping at the eye or using instruments to remove any object.
If chemicals splash in the eye:
- Flush the eye with water for 15 to 20 minutes. See further directions below.
Seek immediate professional care if:
- You are splashed with acidic or caustic chemicals, such as drain-cleaning products
- You experience any loss of vision
- Objects seem stuck in the eye or are not easily rinsed away
- Objects in the eye are over the pupil
- You experience redness, discharge, visual problems, or pain after flushing the eye
- You experience persistent pain, visual changes, or redness after removing an object