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Get Dirt Out of Your Eye

Dirt in the eye can be harmless, but it can also scratch your eyeball and cause infection. Whenever you get a foreign substance in your eye take the time to flush the eye clean.


1. Turn on a bright light and have your family member take a good look around your eye by spreading open your eyelids. If your helper sees a fleck of dirt, she should be extra diligent in flushing that particular spot out with the solution.
2. Keep a bottle of sterile isotonic buffered solution eye wash on hand. Make absolutely certain that its label states "for use in the eyes."
3. Wash your hands thoroughly.
4. Lay down on a bed or couch. Tilt your head slightly to the left side when your left eye is being flushed, and slightly to the right side when your right eye is being flushed. This allows the dirt to flow out and away from your eye.
5. Ask a family member to flush out your eye for you. Hold the eyelids apart and apply a steady stream of eyewash into the eye, until dirt particles are flushed out.
6. Hold a handkerchief near the outside of the eye, to keep the eyewash from wetting your pillow, and pouring into your ear.
7. Dry the outside of the eye, and rest for 5 minutes, preferably with your eye closed.
8. Know that usually less than a tablespoon of flush will get the eye clean. An eyecup can be used instead, but the steady pressure from the eyewash bottle seems to be more effective than the eyecup.
9. Open your eye and see how it feels. Is the grittiness gone? Does light hurt your eyes? If not, your eye is most likely flushed clean. If the eye continues to feel as if it is irritated, flush one more time.
10. Consider calling an eye doctor if, after two thorough flushings, the eye still feels irritated. Continued irritation could be an indication of a corneal abrasion, and in that instance, too much flushing can do more harm than good.


1. If you are alone, you can use the eyecup that comes with the eye wash bottle to flush your eye.
2. Another method of getting dirt out of your eye when you are alone is to fill a large bowl with tepid water, tie back your hair, and plunge your face into the water. While holding your breath, force your eyes open wide. Move your face around in the water to help dislodge any bits of grit.
3. This can be repeated several times, as needed. It's an effective way to rinse out foreign bodies when you are alone. Also works well when grass clippings, weed seeds or other tiny particles get into your eyes.


1. Never make the mistake of flushing your eyes with sterile eyedrops containing tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride. These drops are meant to take the redness and irritation out of eyes, not to flush them clean
2. If your eye continues to feel gritty four hours after flushing it, or is streaked with redness, or hurts, see an eye doctor. Corneal abrasions are serious, and need prompt medical attention.
3. If symptoms persist or if you have specific medical conditions or concerns, we recommend you contact a physician. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment

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