Flush the eye

Flushing your eye may help relieve mild eye symptoms and is the most important first aid measure for a chemical substance in the eye. The sooner you get a chemical out of the eye, the less damage it may do.

If you are wearing contacts, remove them before flushing your eye. If you are not able to remove a contact, flush your eye with the contact in.

Flush the eye from the inner corner toward the outer corner. This prevents a substance in the eye from washing into the other eye.

Any of the following may be done to flush the eye. You must hold the eyelids open while you:

  • Stand under a shower with open eyes.
  • Put your face under a running faucet.
  • Use a kitchen sink sprayer at low pressure.
  • Immerse your face in a sink or pan filled with water.
  • Run water from a garden hose over your eye (do not use the spray nozzle).
  • Pour water from a pitcher or jug over your eye.

Do not use alcohol to flush the eye.

Last Updated: December 6, 2009

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