If you get something stuck in your eye, it can be itchy, irritating, damaging and often painful. Getting dirt out of your eye can be very difficult since the eyes are highly sensitive organs. Plus, even the tiniest bit of dirt can cause scratches on the surface of your eyes so you need to be ultra careful.
Usually, it is best to just leave the dirt in there and blink a bit so that the resulting tears naturally eliminate the debris. This does not, however, always work. Not to mention that blinking can be very difficult when you’ve got a painful grain of something sharp stuck in your eyes. If you can get yourself to cry, nothing like it. Tears will flush out the offending particle in a jiffy. However, if even that does not work, your next choice would be to use eye drops to flush out the dirt. If you do not have eye drops on hand, you have no option left but to resort to washing your eyes with water. Do not wash your eyes with water unless you have exhausted all your other choices.
Now when you’re in pain, you aren’t going to be worried about whether or not you are washing your eyes properly. You’ll just keep splashing water in desperation as you try to find relief. Do not do this. It is far too rough a treatment for so sensitive an organ. You’ll be causing a lot more damage this way.
Learn how to wash eyes with water properly before the actual need for it occurs. Practice now and you will be better equipped to react in the right way in case of an emergency.
How to Wash Eyes With Water
Method 1 – Wash Eyes with Water Using Eye Dropper/Medicine Cup
What you will need:
- Luke warm water – cold water will shock the eye and hot water may damage it. Tepid water is perfect. Warmer water is recommended also because it is better at dislodging the particle from the eye.
- An eye dropper or one of those little plastic medicine cups that come on the cover of medicine bottles like cough syrups.
- A clean towel – this is not for your eye but for the rest of your face as you will be making a bit of a mess.
Wash your hands thoroughly, preferably with an anti-bacterial soap before you allow them anywhere near your eyes. Your hands collect a lot of dirt throughout the day and there is a chance that putting a dirty hand to your eye can get more dirt in there.
You have to wash your eye in a place with a mirror so that you can see if the particle of dirt has come out. So set up your eye dropper/medicine cup with lukewarm water and a clean towel near a kitchen or bathroom sink where you won’t mind the mess.
Examine your eye. Often, the particle that has gotten in your eye can be so tiny that it blends right into the eye and you are unable to see it unless you really scrutinize your peepers and look for it. Try to figure out what exactly it is that is causing the irritation. Is it an eye lash that fell off? Is it mud or sand? Could it be a grain of salt or pepper from when you were pottering around in the kitchen? Knowing what kind of particle is stuck in your eye will make you better equipped to deal with it. Also try to determine the location of the particle so you know where to douse the water.
OK, time to begin washing your eyes with water. Fill the medicine cup or the eye dropper with the lukewarm water. If lukewarm water is not available at the time, you can use room temperature water too. Avoid cold water.
This is one of the tough bits of the process. Get a light but firm hold of your upper eye lid and pull it in an upward direction so that your eyes open up. This is the same as when you have to administer eye drops – an uncomfortable, unloved motion but a necessary one.
Use the water in your medicine cup or eye dropper to flush out the eye. You may have to repeat this step as the particle may not come out immediately. So keep on trying to flush it away with repeated applications of water with the eye dropper or the medicine cup. If you keep on doing this and realize at some point that it’s not going to work, then stop washing your eye with water and get hold of someone who can take you to the emergency room at your nearest hospital. Don’t try to drive yourself as the particle in your eye can make you an unsafe driver. If you are successful in removing the offending particle, move on to the next step.
Pull your upper lid back down and blink a few times. The tears will help to soothe your irritated eyes and it will begin the healing process on any microscopic scratches that may have developed.
Dab your face dry with a towel. Do not rub the eyes.
Method 2 – Using a Wide Bowl
What you will Need:
- 2 clean towels
- A bowl that is wide and deep enough to allow you to immerse your full face in it
- Lukewarm or room temperature water
Fill the bowl with the lukewarm water. Do not fill it all the way to the top. Leave a couple of inches. Lay a towel around the bowl to catch any spills. Now take a deep breath and immerse your face in the bowl till your eyes are under water. Blink and roll your eye balls around to help dislodge the particle.
This is a simpler way to wash eyes with water properly and a little safer too in some ways; since you do not have to touch your eyes with your hands, it lowers the risk of unnecessary friction as well as infection from dirt on your hands. This is not, however, the best method for children as they cannot be expected to hold their breaths and there is the risk of drowning.
Method 3 – Dabbing
What you will need:
- A clean cloth of a soft fabric that will soak in water well. Cotton or muslin will do.
- Half a liter of boiled water which has been allowed to cool until lukewarm
- 1/3 teaspoon of salt
While this is not exactly washing the eyes out with water, some people find it a little easier to do since it does not involve dropping water directly into the eyes. Add the salt to the water and mix until the salt is completely diluted. Dip a corner of the clean cloth in the solution and gently dab over eyes. Hold it against your closed eye lid for a few seconds at each dab.
Be careful with this method. Do not use too much salt in the solution as it can have a bad reaction with the cells in your eye and cause them to burst. If that little particle stuck in your eye is bothering you so much, imagine the kind of pain and discomfort burst cells can cause.
Sometimes, you may be successful in removing the particle by washing your eyes with water but you may find that you are still in pain. See your doctor immediately as this may be a sign that you have scratched your cornea.
Do You Need to Wash Your Eyes All the time?
Yes, but not as often as you think. Several guides say you should wash your eyes with cold water every day to get them looking sparkly. This statement is quite inaccurate and misleading because the sparkle in your eye has nothing to do with how clean they are but with how healthy your body is and the kind of foods you eat. As for the hygiene factor, eyes do not really need to be washed so much.
Your eyes are protected by tears which naturally eliminate the gunk that collects in your eye. You know that icky, gooey stuff that gathers at the corner of your eye? That’s the medium your eyes use to dispose of dirt, dust and grime. Plus, a little water does enter your eye every time you take a shower or wash your face, even if you squeeze your eyes shut. This is usually enough to get rid of any gunk that’s stuck in there. Some people, however, may be exposed to such high levels of dirt and pollution each day that their eyes need to be washed on a daily basis. While washing eyes with water is OK occasionally if something is stuck in it, you should definitely not make this a daily affair if you do not need to.
- Firstly, tap water is treated chemically to make it safe for use. These chemicals remain in your water as they run through the plumbing system and your taps. When they come into contact with your eyes, they can cause more harm than good.
- Secondly, washing your eyes with water can dry them out and cause further irritation.
- Thirdly, your eyes have a specific pH balance which needs to remain at that level without interruption. Washing your eyes with water on a regular basis will interfere with the delicate balance and you will experience problems. Did you know that even the human body needs a specific pH balance and if it increases or decreases by even one point you could die? That’s how important pH is even to the eye so it is best to avoid practices and habits which will mess with it.
Protect Your Eyes So You Don’t Need to Wash Them
If you do get something stuck in your eye, you can safely remove it by using any of the methods in this how to wash eyes with water properly guide. However, it would be much more prudent if you took steps to avoid the dirt getting in your eye in the first place. You cannot control every aspect of your life, of course, but the following simple steps can help you keep your eyes safe from harm.
- Wear eye glasses or goggles when you are driving with the windows of your car down. The wind shield is helpful in keeping your eyes safe to a certain extent, but rogue particles of dust or even insects can easily fly into your eye.
- If riding a bike, wear a helmet with the visor down so that pollution and dirt do not get into your eyes. You can just wear sun glasses if you like. But remember that dirt that gets on your face can easily slip into your eyes.
- Don’t overload on eye makeup too often. In fact, minimize your use of eye makeup as much as you possibly can. They contain many chemicals which themselves can get into your eyes, plus they are a magnet for dirt and grime.
- If you must wear makeup, remove it properly. Also never sleep with your makeup on as small particles of it can easily get into your eyes.
- Invest in a pair of safety goggles and put them on religiously every time you work in the garden or work with tools. If you are performing or in the vicinity of any activities which involve small particles being flailed around like sawing wood, shaving ice or mowing the lawn with a high-powered mower, wear goggle or sun glasses to prevent them from getting in your eye. If you work in a lab, then wear your safety goggles without fail in all the conditions that call for it.
- If you have dry eyes, invest in quality tear-replacement eye drops which will help to lubricate the eyes. The drier your eyes are, the more susceptible they are to attracting dirt from the air, water and environment in general.