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.

Immediate action required: 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

How to treat an eye injury at home


  • 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


  • 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:

Make sure the flow of water is not too strong.

Urgent advice: Ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111 if:

  • you've injured your eye and it is not getting better after 24 hours
  • you're worried about an eye injury

You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.

You could also visit an opticians for advice.

Other eye injuries

There is separate information about:

Page last reviewed: 7 June 2022
Next review due: 7 June 2025