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Poison Center Helpline 1-800-222-1222

First Aid For Eyes

Getting something in the eye can be painful and stressful. IPC is here to guide you with steps to take if you or a child has a substance in the eye.

  • Step 1: If you’re wearing contacts, remove them immediately.

  • Step 2: Rinse the affected eye for 15 minutes with lukewarm/body-temperature tap water. It’s not enough to hold a wet cloth to the eye or splash water from the sink into the eye.

  • For adults and older children: Standing in the shower is the best way to rinse the eye. Tilt the head so a steady stream of water runs over the bridge of the nose and into the eye(s).

  • For younger children and infants: Fill a clean cup with water. Lay the infant or child on his/her back. Pour the water over the infant’s or child’s nose into the eye(s). For younger children, wrap a towel around the child to secure his/her arms. Place another towel under the child’s head for comfort. It also makes it easier for you to perform the irrigation.

  • Step 3: After rinsing, let the eye rest for about 15-30 minutes. The eye will temporarily feel dry until the natural tears return.

Note: Do not use eye drops, such as Visine or artificial tears, during the irrigation process. Eye drops can mask important symptoms.

Contact IPC at 1-800-222-1222 if pain or swelling persists, or if you or the child has the feeling of a grain of sand or eyelash in the eye. This sensation may indicate an abrasion or burn on the eye. Evaluation by a physician may be necessary.

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Poison Center HelplineCalls are free and confidential.

  1. In Case of Emergency

    Call 911 if someone is unconscious or is having difficulty breathing.

  2. Remain Calm

    Most poison emergencies can be resolved quickly over the phone.

  3. Call the Helpline

    Call 1-800-222-1222 if you are concerned that you or someone else has been exposed to a potentially harmful substance.