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How to irrigate the eye


Eyes normally clean themselves. But eye irrigation may be needed when the eyes are contaminated with:


·        Chemical exposure (tint)

·        Foreign material (eyelash)


Ideally, sterile saline solution is used. However, if the need is urgent and no sterile saline is available, use the cleanest water you can easily find. When doing a treatment on the eye, it is good practice to have a bowl of clean, tepid water to hand.  Speed in irrigation of the eye is very important, as the longer the irritant is in the eye the more damage is done.


Tilt the casualty's head to one side and drip the saline into the corner of the eye:

·        Don't drip the water directly onto the eye. Instead, direct it into the "epicanthal fold" next to the eye so it will "slip, not drip" over the eye.

·        Pour the water straight from the bowl or use a pipette to avoid further contamination.

·        The water will drain from medial to lateral.

·        A towel may be held under the clients head to catch the water as it drains.

·        Continue to drip in the water for approximately 5 minutes.

·        In the case of a chemical burn, irrigation could last 10 to 15 minutes.




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