Eye injuries

Minor eye injuries, such as shampoo or dust in your eye, often get better on their own within a day. Get medical help if you have a chemical in your eye or something pierces it.

Go to A&E or call 999 if:

  • a strong chemical, such as oven cleaner or bleach, is in your eye – keep rinsing your eye with water while waiting for medical help
  • a sharp object has pierced your eye
  • something has hit your eye at high speed – for example, while using power tools or mowing the lawn
  • there are any changes to your sight after an eye injury
  • you have a headache, high temperature or sensitivity to light
  • you're feeling sick or being sick after an eye injury
  • you cannot move your eye or keep it open
  • blood or pus is coming from your eye

Find your nearest A&E

How to treat an eye injury at home

Do

  • wash your eye with clean water if there's something in it
  • follow the advice on the packaging if any cosmetics or household products get in your eyes
  • take painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen to help ease any pain or discomfort

Don't

  • do not try to remove any object that's pierced your eye
  • do not touch or rub your eye until it's better
  • do not wear make-up around your eye until it's better
  • do not wear contact lenses until your eye is better

How to wash your eye

You should:

  • use clean water (not hot) – this can be from a tap, shower or bottled water if you’re not at home
  • hold your eye open
  • run lots of water over your eyeball for at least 20 minutes

Make sure the flow of water is not too strong.

[Last reviewed 2019-06-28]