Everyone gets something in their eye at some point. Often it’s just dust or an eyelash, but sometimes it's a sign of something more serious, such as an eye injury which requires further care. Other times, specific eye conditions can make it feel as if there's something in your eye, even when there isn't.
What do I do if there’s something in my eye?
Most of the time your eyes will deal with small objects by themselves: they should come out naturally with the help of your tears and eyelids. However, if you're struggling to remove the object, you should try to follow this advice:
- Don’t rub the affected eye – no matter how itchy it feels
- Blink to stimulate tears or use an eye wash
- If the foreign body isn’t washed away by your tears or by bathing your eye, seek immediate medical attention, especially if the object can't be seen
- Try to keep the affected eye shut until you can be seen
- If you work in an environment with dangerous materials such as construction, it’s vital that the appropriate safety eyewear is worn to prevent damage caused by a foreign object entering the eye
The NHS has some helpful advice on eye injuries and when to seek emergency help if you’re ever concerned.
Why does it feel like there's something in my eye — even where there isn't?
There are several eye conditions that can make it feel like you have something in your eye, even if there’s not. Most of the time they are not serious, but might need investigating. As with all eye conditions, you should contact your optician, GP or NHS 111 immediately for appropriate advice if you experience: eye pain, light sensitivity, disturbed vision, or intense eye redness.
A corneal ulcer is a painful sore that develops on the outer surface of your eye. Common causes of corneal ulcers include: bacterial infections, viral infections, eye injuries or small scratches on the eye. They can be more common in contact lens wearers so proper care of your lenses is essential.
A pinguecula is a white or yellow bump on the white of the eye which is usually found close to the edge of the cornea. It grows on the clear layer which covers the white part of your eye called the conjunctiva.
How can eye tests help to detect eye conditions early?
If it feels like there is something in your eye, and it doesn't correct itself naturally, it's worth seeing your GP or local optometrist to have your symptoms checked out. All of our optometrists are fully trained to detect eye conditions that could cause discomfort — the sooner they can identify any problems with your eyes, the sooner any underlying conditions can be managed.
During the appointment, your optometrist will perform a variety of tests to look closely at the health of your eye, as well as assess any impact to your vision. For example, the slit lamp is a powerful microscope that lets them examine the surface of the eye for any damage, scratches or abrasions.
Worried about your eyes?
Specsavers stores provide a range of eye care services to help maintain the health of your eyes. In some areas of the country, this may be provided free of charge on behalf of the NHS. Where NHS services are not available, there is a private service. Rather than booking an appointment online, contact your local store for more information and to arrange an eye health clinic appointment.
If you're worried about your eyes, call your store today to book an urgent eye health check. If your eye condition is accompanied by pain, vomiting/nausea, numbness or generally not feeling right - seek emergency care.