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First Aid for Eyes

To lessen the risk of permanent damage caused by eye injuries, it's important to treat them right away. Get medical care right away, preferably from a special eye care provider.

For all eye injuries

Do's and don'ts include:

  • Don't rub, touch, or apply pressure to the eye.

  • Don't apply ointment or medicines to the eye.

  • Don't try to remove an object stuck in the eye.

  • Don't take aspirin, ibuprofen, or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These medicines thin the blood, which may cause increased bleeding.

  • Do see a healthcare provider as soon as possible, preferably an eye care provider. 

First aid for cuts in or around the eye

Do's and don'ts include: 

  • Do bandage the eye gently.

  • Don't rub the eye or apply any pressure.

  • Don't try to remove any particles.

  • Don't eat between the time of the injury and your evaluation with an eye care provider. This may delay surgical repair, if needed.

First aid when foreign particles enter the eye

Here are suggestions for what to do if you get small particles in your eye:

  • Pull the upper lid down onto lower lid. Let the lower eyelashes sweep away the particle by blinking repeatedly.

  • Let tears wash out the speck or particle.

  • Flush the eye with saline solution, eyewash, or running tap water.

  • Close your eye and get medical care right away if the above suggestions don't work.

  • Don't rub the eye.

First aid for chemical splashes

Here are suggestions for what to do: 

  • Use fingers to separate lids. Then flush the eye with water from a faucet or clean container.

  • Get emergency medical care right away.

  • Cover the eye.

First aid for physical trauma, cuts, or punctures to the eye

Do's and don'ts include: 

  • Don't try to treat a serious eye injury yourself.

  • Don't rub or apply pressure to the eye.

  • Don't rinse with water.

  • Don't remove an object stuck in the eye.

  • Do gently place a shield over the eye. Taping the bottom of a paper cup to the bones around the eye can protect the eye until you get to the emergency room.

  • Don't take aspirin, ibuprofen, or other NSAIDs. These medicines thin the blood, which may result in increased bleeding.

Contact your ophthalmologist, primary healthcare provider, or emergency room right away.

Online Medical Reviewer: Chris Haupert MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Tara Novick BSN MSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Whitney Seltman MD
Date Last Reviewed: 1/1/2023
© 2000-2023 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.