It can be an extremely painful and terrifying experience to get pepper spray in your eyes because the capsaicin in the spray solution causes a severe burning sensation. After receiving the effects of this self-defense tool, you can use a combination of methods to treat your eyes and stop the pain from spreading.
Saline and Cool Water
Never rub your eyes after they come in contact with pepper spray. Although it might seem like the natural thing to do, touching your eyes worsens the effects of the capsaicin, magnifying the pain and spreading the effects to other parts of your body.
If you have contact lenses, remove them immediately. They cannot be cleaned after the capsaicin oils attach themselves, so dispose of them. If your hands might have pepper spray on them, have someone assist you with lens removal, since touching your eyes only makes it worse.
Blink rapidly to allow your eyes to produce the moisture necessary for removing the pepper spray. Relief does not come immediately, but this process allows the eyes to begin washing the harmful solution out.
Splash cool water over your eyes a few times to flush them. Do not touch your hands to your eyes because doing so can increase the pain.
When the burn has subsided, apply a saline solution to each eye to assist with the eyewash. Continue to blink after the saline application.
Apply a Milk-Soaked Towel
Whole milk is an excellent pain reliever for pepper spray because the fat stops the capsaicin from engaging the nerve endings in your body. Pour the milk in a container and submerge a paper towel in it. Close your eyes and hold the towel to them. This is especially effective because it treats your eyelids and other areas near your eyes that could have capsaicin lodged in. Leave the milk-soaked towel on each eye for a few minutes, or as long as it brings relief. Throw the towel away after use.
Use an Ice Pack
After applying the other remedies, you can hold an ice pack over your eyes, which will bring relief from the burn. Hold the ice over the affected parts as long as necessary. Pepper spray burns typically take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes to subside, depending on the amount of pepper spray that was used.