How to Get Sand Out of Your Eye

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Get Sand Out of Your Eye

Sand in the eye can be a painful experience that may lead to scratches on the eye (corneal abrasions) or an eye infection. A windy day or a sand-throwing incident at the beach can lead to sand in the eyes, and properly administering first aid is essential in order to lessen the chance of a serious eye injury or infection. When a foreign object enters the eye, profuse tearing results. Proper first aid for sand in the eye involves mimicking the natural tearing process by flushing the affected eye(s).

Things You'll Need

  • Eye cup or drinking cup
  • Water (bottled and tap)
  • Antibacterial soap
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Instructions

    • 1

      Wash your hands using antibacterial soap. Clean the inside of an eye cup or a plain drinking cup using antibacterial soap. Rinse very thoroughly to remove all traces of the soap.

    • 2

      Fill the eye cup (or drinking cup) to the brim with room-temperature water. Bottled water is ideal, but if this is not available, allow the tap to run for a full minute before filling the cup (to avoid using water containing particles as a result of sitting in the pipes for an extended period of time).

    • 3

      Place the water-filled cup on a flat surface. Lower your face over the cup, immersing your affected eye inside the water.

    • 4

      Blink your eye while it's immersed in the water to help flush away the sand particles. It usually takes 10 to 20 seconds of flushing to remove all sand particles, but you may flush the eyes for up to 15 minutes.

    • 5

      Monitor for signs of eye infection for 48 hours after the sand is removed from your eyes. Any time a foreign object comes in contact with the eyes, there is a chance that an infection will develop. Signs of an infection include redness, swelling, pain/discomfort and eye discharge.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ideally, a second person should perform steps 1 through 3, as the victim may be in extreme discomfort, particularly if both eyes are affected.

  • If a clean cup is not available, tip your head back and pour water over the affected eye(s). Try to avoid blinking during the first few seconds of flushing.

  • If water is not available, then eye drops can be used to aid in eye flushing.

  • If water is unavailable, then allow the eye to tear. Although this will lead to discomfort for a longer period of time, the sand will be flushed out of the eye. The chances of a corneal abrasion are much higher if water is not available to flush the victim's eyes.

  • If eye flushing does not remove a foreign object, seek emergency medical attention. In addition, a person with a corneal abrasion may feel like there's an object in the eye, so a medical exam is essential to determine the true nature of the situation.

  • Resist the urge to rub your eyes. You may inadvertently draw the sand across the eye's surface, leading to scratches on the eye's surface, or corneal abrasions.

  • If, after flushing, it still feels like there is a foreign object in your eye (i.e. you still experience the urge to blink and your eye continues tearing), it's possible you may have suffered a corneal abrasion. Keep the eye closed, apply an eye patch (if available) and seek immediate medical attention.

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