One of the cruellest ironies of human anatomy is that eyelashes, whose purpose is to guard the eye from invading dust particles and other nasties, can themselves turn traitor by falling into and irritating the eye. It is therefore doubly ironic that in this circumstance (and indeed in the event of any ophthalmological security breach) one can reappropriate the eyelash as a tool which plays a vital role in removing its wayward sibling from the eye.

Do not rub or poke at the eye with your dirty, dirty fingers. This will most likely introduce even more irritants. Instead, grasp the eyelashes firmly between finger and thumb and use them as a leash with which to drag the upper eyelid down over the eyeball. The aim is to manually close the affected eye in such a way that the eyelid is stretched taut, thus bringing the eyelashes further down the face than they are when the eye is closed in the ordinary fashion. The effect of this on the eyeball is to pull it downwards so that it is in contact with the soft skin under the eye (the part where you apply wrinkle cream). Having achieved this, simply roll the eye in a couple of big circles--look up, right, down and left to the very edge of your vision--and then open it. All going well, whatever object was caught in your eye should have rubbed off onto the skin beneath the eye, from where you can safely brush it away.

Well, it works for me anyway. But do take note of the safety precautions below, and thankyou to Alex for providing his superior advice.

From a medical perspective, the recommended thing to do is to do the following:

i) blink ... a lot ...
ii) if that fails to get the object out, wash the eye with lots of water
iii) if that fails, contact a doctor

It may actually be dangerous to do what jt suggests if the object is hard, sharp and embedded in the conjunctiva under the eyelid, where holding the eyelid against the eye and moving the eyeball vigorously against it would only cause more scratching of the cornea.

The above advice is what you should do if you get some grit in your eye.

If you are slightly medically inclined and have the appropriate materials, you can look under each eyelid with good lighting. Evert the upper eyelid and look carefully right up to the deepest part of each conjuctiva. If you have some local anaesthetic eyedrops (which I seriously hope most people don't have sitting at home), you can attempt to remove the foreign object with a small sterile needle with the patient lying very still after putting a couple of drops in.

If you are not medically trained, please DO NOT try anything harsher than blinking or washing with water and blinking. DO NOT rub the eye vigorously (it may be impossible to avoid rubbing at all with that irritation in the eye). Making your eye tear by holding the upper eyelid over the lower eyelid is not recommended medical advice. If there is a foreign body under either eyelid, the eye should water naturally anyway.

And let's not even mention what to do in penetrating eye injuries here ...

Ignore the rolling about advice, and the washing with water advice until you read this.

1. Firstly, pull the upper eyelid down and over the lower eyelid.

2.Then wait for around 40 seconds. During this time water will build up between the eye and upper eyelid.

3.Just as you feel pressure start to build and the feeling that you are going to shed tears from that eye, blink gently .

4.Repeat this a couple of times until the water is gone. The small irritant will have been washed away in the tears, and when you lower your eyelid back onto the eye you should feel fine.

5.Then wash your hands and then your eye with water to remove any smaller irritants.

This works very well, and gets it every time. The rolling may scratch the cornea as stated above and the washing is useless if the little piece is lodged under the eyelid. If you use this method it will remove it directly before washing, or at least bring it down far enough for washing to have an effect.

If you're not squeamish in the slighest, might I recommend this procedure:

Find a mirror and a cotton bud (Q tip for all you merkins)
Hold the eyelid out of the way with one hand, and use the cotton bud in the other to pick up the nasty thing. Dab, don't stroke. If it's wedged in perpendicularly, rather than just lying on the eye, try two cotton buds as chopsticks. Ideally you want to touch the eye just once, and lift the foreign body straight off.
Now watch everybody go eww!!!

I discovered this technique while rennovating the (now old) flat, when I tried to strip paint with a hammer. Lots of sharp paint flecs went flying everywhere. 'There is no more important safety rule, than to wear these safety glasses'

I'm really not trying to do a cheese write-up here, but I wanted to give one bit of advice on preventing eyelashes and eyebrow hairs from getting in your eye. Regularly remove loose eyelashes and eyebrow hairs. I'm not saying pluck them, just hold some of your eyelashes/eyebrows between two fingers, twist back and forth gently while slowly increasing your tug until your fingers comes away. You will very likely see at least 3 or 4 loose ones on the very first pull. Ever since I started doing this, I've cut down on eye-clutches by about 75%. It especially helps prevent accidents in the case of contac wearers.

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