How to get sand out of your eyes

Related Articles

  • How to Use Saline Eye Wash
  • What to Do If OxiClean Gets in the Eye
  • How to Use Vicks Cool Mist Humidifier
  • How to Apply an Eye Patch
  • How to Make Your Own Ankle Weights
  • What to Expect After a Vitrectomy

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).

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.

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).

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

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.

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.

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.

Related Articles

  • How to Use Saline Eye Wash
  • What to Do If OxiClean Gets in the Eye
  • How to Use Vicks Cool Mist Humidifier
  • How to Apply an Eye Patch
  • How to Make Your Own Ankle Weights
  • What to Expect After a Vitrectomy

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).

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.

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).

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

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.

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.

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.

More Articles

  1. Herbal Remedies for Dermatitis Stasis
  2. How to Wash Out the Eye
  3. Can You Take Showers Wearing Contacts?
  4. Effects of Asbestos on the Eyes
  5. How to Remove a Torn Contact Lens
  • Irrigate the Eye
  • Avoid Self-Treatment
  • Visit the Doctor
  • Prevent Infection

This author has been verfied for credibility and expertise

You are at the beach when a gust of wind blows sand into your eye 2. Your eye is immediately tearing and irritated. The next steps you should take include flushing the eye with water and planning a visit to your eye doctor for careful inspection. Retained sand in the eye can lead to abrasions, infections, inflammation and scarring. Attempts to remove retained sand by yourself can cause further injury. Success depends on proper medical evaluation and treatment.

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Irrigate the Eye

When you feel sand go into your eye, flush the eye copiously with water. If you normally wear contact lenses, remove your contact and leave it out. Never rub your eye in an attempt to dislodge sand or another material. Rubbing can lead to scratching of the cornea — the clear part at the front of your eye. Even if your eye feels better after flushing it with water or you look in a mirror and do not see any sand, visiting your eye doctor as soon as possible is still important. Retained material in the eye may not cause symptoms initially and can only be seen by a doctor.

  • When you feel sand go into your eye, flush the eye copiously with water.
  • Even if your eye feels better after flushing it with water or you look in a mirror and do not see any sand, visiting your eye doctor as soon as possible is still important.

Avoid Self-Treatment

Herbal Remedies for Dermatitis Stasis

Components of sand include glass and metal 3. If metal is stuck in the eye, particularly the cornea, it can leave a rust ring, which also has to be removed. The doctor must do this carefully with a special instrument to avoid corneal scarring. Never attempt to remove a speck on your eye by yourself. You will likely cause an abrasion and increase the infection risk. Excellent magnification, special instruments and proper lighting are needed to remove material trapped in the eye, and only an eye care specialist has access to these instruments and tools.

  • Components of sand include glass and metal 3.
  • If metal is stuck in the eye, particularly the cornea, it can leave a rust ring, which also has to be removed.

Visit the Doctor

At the beginning or your exam, your eye doctor will check your vision and make a careful inspection of the eye under a bright lamp. She will look under the upper lid and the pockets of the lids, both of which can be hiding places for foreign material, such as sand. She will check the cornea for scratches by putting a special dye in the eye 2. Not all foreign bodies are visible even to an eye doctor — for example, glass pieces in sand or insect hairs. Therefore, the doctor may flush the eye repeatedly with saline to ensure nothing is trapped.

How to get sand out of your eyes

Headed to the beach for spring break? Or maybe you’re going camping or hiking in the woods, or even just some time at the local ball field or park. No matter what the activity, there’s a good chance of getting some type of dirt or sand in your eyes. If that happens, be sure you know these steps from the American Ophthalmology Association for proper treatment.

Getting sand, dirt, dust or other small natural particles in your eye is usually not an emergency. Our eyes are very good at flushing out these kinds of particles with tears and blinking. Let your eyes try to take care of the particles naturally before doing anything else.

If you’ve gotten metal, glass or other man-made materials in your eye, that can be more serious. These kinds of objects can become embedded in the surface of the eye and cause ongoing irritation and more damage.

  • DO NOT rub the eye.
  • Blink several times and allow tears to flush out the particle.
  • Lift the upper eyelid over the lashes of your lower lid to let the eyelashes try to brush the particle out.
  • Use eyewash, saline solution or running tap water to flush the eye out.
  • See a doctor or go to the emergency room as soon as possible If you can’t get the particles out of your eye or if it still feels like there’s something in your eye after you’ve gotten the material out.

Last Updated: September 11, 2020 References

This article was co-authored by Kerry Assil, MD. Dr. Kerry Assil is a board certified Ophthalmologist and the Medical Director and CEO of Assil Eye Institute (AEI), an ophthalmology practice in Los Angeles, California. With over 25 years of experience and as one of the world’s foremost experts in eye surgery, Dr. Assil has trained 14,000+ physicians in refractive and cataract surgery, performed 70,000+ eye surgeries, and authored over 100 textbooks, chapters, and articles on refractive and cataract surgery. He’s served as the Distinguished Professor lecturer at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Duke, Baylor, Tokyo, and UCLA among others. He has served on the advisory boards of 20+ ophthalmic device, pharmaceutical, and scientific companies and has appeared in the media as an authority on advances in vision-restoring surgeries and refractive surgery. Dr. Assil continues to make significant advances in his field with numerous inventions and introductions of state-of-the-art technologies.

There are 17 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

This article has been viewed 343,615 times.

Getting dirt in your eye can be a common occurrence, especially if you are outside a lot. This can be annoying, but can also cause lasting issues if not dealt with immediately. Under most circumstances, there are a few things you can try to get dirt out of your eye on your own. However, if the problem persists, you may need to see an eye doctor for help.

If you feel the sand go into your eyes, follow these tips instead of rubbing your eyes.

How to get sand out of your eyes

You are on a beach when a gust of wind blows sand into your eyes. Your eye is immediately irritated. You rub your eyes to get the particle out, but nothing helps. What do you do next? We share with you tips that can help remove the foreign body from your eyes. These tips and tried and tested and will definitely help you too. Also Read – Know about these causes of puffy or swollen eyes

  • Blinking your eyes rapidly can be one of the best ways to get rid of any debris that is stuck in your eyes. The more you blink your eyes; the better is the chance of removing the particle.
  • Sometimes, a tiny particle can get trapped under your eyelids. Pull out your upper eyelids and place it over your lower one. Then roll your eyes to remove the particle that is stuck. You can repeat the process if it does not work in the first attempt.
  • Splash your eyes with cold water. You can also open your eyes and place it under running tap water to rinse it out. Water won t damage your eyes so don t be afraid to keep your eyes open.
  • Dab a piece of cotton cloth in water and gently press the sides of your eyes with it. Just be careful not to rub your cornea with the cloth as it is a very sensitive area and can cause pain when touched. Use a white cotton swab so that you are able to see the debris that has been removed.
  • If you find it difficult to get the particle out of your eyes on your own, you can also ask a friend for help. Lift your eyelids so that it becomes easier for your friend to find the debris. Ask your friend to use a cotton swab to dab the particle out of your eyes. Find out what your eyes indicate about your health.

Also, make sure that you don t rub your eyes when something has gotten into it. When you rub your eyes the trapped particle can push further under your eyelid or scratch the eyeball. Also, if a fluttering eyelid often irritates you find out why it is happening. Also Read – Follow these tips to remove dust particles from your eyes

Ami A. Shah, MD, is board-certified in ophthalmology. She works for Kaiser Permanente and is the owner and founder of one of the Bay Area’s first mobile aesthetic practices.

When something relatively minor like an eyelash or bit of dust is stuck in your eye, it can feel much bigger than it is. Make that foreign object something like a grain of sand or sawdust and the discomfort multiplies. The eye is an incredibly sensitive organ, so you’ll want to quickly remove any foreign object that finds its way in. But you also need to do so safely.

Blink a few times to see if the culprit will come out on its own. Irritation will cause your eye to water, which may help flush the object. If blinking doesn’t do the trick, follow these tips.

How to get sand out of your eyes

Steps for Removing Debris From Your Eye

These steps are effective for relatively harmless particles causing discomfort:  

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Don’t rub: If you wear contacts, gently remove them. Although you will be tempted, do not rub your eye. This may cause more irritation or the foreign body to become more deeply embedded. (For chemicals in the eye, skip step 3.)
  3. Examine your eye: Look into a mirror and gently pull down on the lower eyelid. Look up to examine the lower eye region. Repeat with the upper eyelid, looking down to examine the upper region. If possible, have a friend help with this step, as it’s difficult to examine your own eyes. Try not to touch your cornea as you work.
  4. Flush the eye: Squirt some sterile saline or eyewash* (available at drugstores) into a cup. Place its lower rim on the bone below your eye, then tip your head back and pour the solution directly in. You can also dispense the fluid directly into your eye from the bottle.

*Sterile eyewashes are best because they are guaranteed to be germ-free. But, if you don’t have one handy, use plain water. You can follow the instructions on flushing the eye above, or fill a cup to the rim, lower your eye into the surface of the water, and blink several times. A water fountain also makes a good eyewash because it can run a steady stream into your eye, dislodging the foreign body.

When to See a Doctor

These steps will resolve most cases of something in the eye, but there are times when medical attention is necessary.

Seek an immediate evaluation if you experience:

  • Severe pain
  • Changes in vision
  • Bleeding from the eye
  • Pus from the eye

Go to the emergency room if a foreign object is clearly embedded in the eye or your eye has been exposed to chemicals.

Eye doctors use specialized instruments to remove lodged foreign objects from the eyes safely; it’s best not to attempt doing so on your own.

Keep your eye gently closed on the way. Excessive blinking could cause more irritation and discomfort. It can also help to cover both eyes (with cotton, for example). This prevents unnecessary eye movement, which could cause an object to move and cause harm.  

If your case isn’t an emergency, but you’ve tried the above and irritation persists, see a doctor. You may be dealing with something other than a foreign object in the eye, such as a scratched cornea (corneal abrasion), which can feel similar.

How to get sand out of your eyes

How to get sand out of your eyes

1. Your hair

The first thing you should do after a particularly windy day at the beach is shake your hair and give you scalp a good scratch to free any lingering sand you brought home. To release the remaining sand from your strands, comb your hair out with a fine toothed comb, scrub you hair well with shampoo, and then rinse with water. Still have sandy locks? Generously spread some baby powder onto your dry hair and massage it into your scalp, then wash your hair with shampoo and rinse with water.

2. Your body

No matter how hard you brush sand off your skin, lingering bits usually remain. To eliminate all sandy residue, rub baby powder on wet or dry skin and then brush away the powder — the sand will fall right off.

3. Your eyes

Whatever you do, don’t rub your eye — you could accidentally scratch your cornea. Most of the time your eyes can naturally flush out any foreign object with tears, but sand is slightly trickier and can damage your eye or cause infection. Instead, carefully flush out the afflicted eye with water, using a small glass or an eye cup by opening your eye in the water and looking from side to side. If you still have sand stuck in your eye, go see a doctor right away to avoid further injury.

4. Your ears

First of all, don’t try to clean your ears out with a Q-tip — this could push the particles deep into your ear and lead to an infection. Instead, tilt your head to the side and shake it while pulling your ear up and back. This will straighten out your ear canal and help get the sand out. If the sand is accompanied by pain or a burning feeling, you should see a doctor. It could be Swimmer’s Ear.

5. Your phone

Sand is basically kryptonite when it comes to electronics. So keep your phone safe by storing it in a ziplock bag while you relax by the shore. But if you do get sand in the buttons or charging area of your phone, it’s not the end of the world. Spraying the phone with a compressed air spray or by sweeping the sand out with the bristles of a toothbrush will help dislodge any particles.