The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide
Emergencies and First Aid
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Removing a Speck From the Eye

Occasionally, an eyelash or speck of dirt gets into the eye and causes irritation. If tears that form do not wash out the object, it can sometimes be removed by pulling the upper eyelid down over the lower eyelid. The lashes of the lower eyelid may brush out any foreign object that is caught under the upper lid.

If this does not work, try either of the procedures described below.



Place a cotton-tipped swab behind the upper eyelid and carefully roll the eyelid back onto it. If you can see the object, remove it with the moistened end of another cotton swab or a facial tissue.

Tilt the person’s head to one side. Hold the eyelids open with two fingers and carefully use an eyedropper or a cup of water to flush water over the eye from the nose outward. If the object cannot be removed, cover the eye with a gauze bandage and seek medical attention.

 




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