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Boy rubbing eye

Boy rubbing eye
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Objects or chemicals in the eye

2-minute read

An object in the eye

If you have dirt in the eye, or a piece of metal or a wood chip, it can be annoying and dangerous.

You might experience:

  • pain and burning
  • red, irritated or watery eyes
  • sensitivity to light
  • a scratchy feeling when you blink
  • blurred or double vision
  • sensitivity to bright lights.

If you think you might have something in your eye, you can try to wash it out, either with warm water or with saline. You should not try to remove it with a cotton bud or anything else. For more information, see after care.

If that doesn’t work, you should see a doctor within 24 hours.

If you have an object that might have entered your eye at high speed, then see a doctor as soon as possible. Anything that penetrates into your eye is potentially very serious.

Chemicals in the eye

It’s easy to splash your eye with chemicals while cleaning, gardening or at work.

If you think you have a chemical in your eye, follow the information in the after care section then go straight to your nearest emergency department.

You will need someone else to take you to the emergency department. Do not drive yourself. Ask a friend or relative to take you.

Suspicion of deliberate harm

If there is any suspicion that the injury was not the result of an accident and that it was deliberately inflicted, you should seek help from a healthcare professional as soon as possible. This could be a nurse or doctor at an emergency department, or a doctor’s surgery, or a health visitor or school nurse.

You can also search for local services and agencies that can offer confidential advice in the National Health Services Directory.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your eye injury, why not use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: November 2017

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