Help! There’s Something Stuck in My Eye!

The tiniest little something in your eye can really kill your vibe – not to mention ruin your makeup. Your natural reaction is to start blinking and letting your tears do the job, but sometimes you have to intervene further. Because our eyes are so sensitive, here are some safe solutions to getting something out of your eye.

First Things First

When you feel like something is in your eye, you may immediately want to start rubbing, but resist the urge. Rubbing your eye can cause whatever is in your eye to cut the surface of your eyeball, which is called a corneal abrasion. NEVER use cotton swabs or tweezers to touch your eyeball: A cotton swab can leave even more residue in your eye, and tweezers are much too sharp. Always wash your hands before examining your eyes, and if you wear contacts, take them out so they don’t get torn or scratched.

Check It Out

Sometimes it’s hard to see what’s in your eye, so ensure you have good lighting. Then, open your eye really wide. If you don’t spot the problem, pull your lower lid down and look in the mirror, then pull your upper lid up and look in the mirror. By now, no matter how minuscule, you should have spotted what’s in your eye. But don’t go digging just yet. Remember, we’re doing this safely.

Much of the time, the culprit will be your own eyelash. But other things can get stuck in your eye, including dirt, sand, pollen, bugs, bits of metal, animal hair, contact lenses, dried mucus, and makeup particles.

Careful of Debris

After your inspection, if something is trapped in your upper eyelid, pull your upper eyelid down over your lower eyelid and let go. Once everything realigns, with any luck, that little speck might make its way out.

If the debris is in your lower eyelid, pull your eyelid out and gently press on the skin underneath so you can see the pink area. If you can see the speck, try running a stream of water over the inside of your eyelid. There are also gentle over-the-counter eye washes that allow you to rinse out your eyes. Remember: No matter how you remove the debris, do not touch your eyeball!

Gunked Up

The culprit to your eye pain could also be gunk, pus, or mucus that has inevitably turned into an uncomfortable crust. To remove it, lay a warm wet washcloth over your eyes for a few minutes and repeat as needed. Ensure your hands are clean, and use a different washcloth for each eye (so that you don’t spread infection). Then contact your doctor because you may need antibacterial eye drops.

You’ve Got Options

Certain conditions can cause you to feel the sensation of something being in your eye when nothing is there. If you can’t ditch the feeling, you may need to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor for an exam. These conditions include:

  • Dry eye
  • Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids)
  • Stye (infected eyelid gland)
  • Chalazion (blocked eyelid oil gland)
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Keratitis (inflammation of the cornea)
  • Contact lens overwear
  • Corneal abrasion
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