Itchy, scratchy, extremely irritating: trapped eyelashes

Do you ever get a horrible scratchy sensation in your eye and realise that once again, you have an eyelash trapped in there? Annoying, isn’t it? It can be enough to distract you from your work or studies, and you may start to annoy other people if you constantly rub or poke at your eyes during a conversation. However, there are plenty of solutions to this common problem. Follow the steps below to remove a wayward eyelash simply and safely.

Why do some people suffer from trapped eyelashes more frequently than others?

Everyone naturally sheds their eyelashes, but some people are more prone to getting stray lashes stuck in their eyes. If you have long eyelashes, cry more often than average, or are prone to rubbing your eyes when you are tired, you may be more likely to experience this issue on a regular basis. You can prevent it occurring in the first place by touching your eyes as infrequently as possible and by using gentle motions when you wash your face. Vigorous scrubbing may cause eyelashes to loosen from the eyelid and become trapped in the eye.

How to remove a trapped eyelash

Firstly, stop rubbing your eye. By poking and prodding, you risk causing an eye injury by grinding the eyelash against the surface of the eyeball. Next, choose one of the methods below. If it doesn’t work, then try another. Take your time – the eye is a delicate organ and your sight is precious, so be careful.

1. Try the water rinsing method.

Fill a basin with clean water – cool boiled water or bottled water is ideal – and submerge your face. Now blink your eyes several times. The water should gently dislodge the eyelash.

2. Use clean fingers to remove the eyelash.

Wash your hands thoroughly with mild antibacterial soap and dry them using a clean towel. Use a mirror to help you locate the eyelash. Use one hand to hold open the eye, and use the other hand for lash removal. Now take a deep breath and use a fingertip to dab at the eyelash, thus lifting it from the surface of your eyeball.

Alternatively, try making a brief sideways or swiping motion to move the eyelash to the corner of your eye. You can then use a finger or clean cotton bud dipped in water or saline solution to remove the eyelash. Please note that this is more likely to work if the eyelash is  stuck on the white of your eye rather than the iris. Make sure that your nails are well-trimmed before attempting this method, otherwise you risk scratching your eye or introducing harmful bacteria.

3. Try using a saline solution and dropper.

If you happen to have some eye drops lying around, use those to flush the eyelash from the eye. Tilt your head backwards and administer 2-3 drops. Blink several times.

4. Wait overnight.

As we sleep, our eyes release natural secretions that clear out foreign bodies or dirt from the eye. You may therefore find that when you wake up in the morning, the eyelash is gone!

5. Peel or cut up an onion.

They contain a chemical called syn-propanethial-S-oxide, which when released triggers eyes to release tears. A few minutes’ crying may be all that is needed to solve the problem.

Know when to call a doctor

The above methods will work in most cases. However, if you can’t shift a stubborn eyelash by yourself, book a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible. This is especially important if your eye appears in any way infected, or if you experience changes in vision. Eye injuries are extremely uncomfortable and may result in sight loss if untreated, so if in any doubt always seek medical attention.

Featured photo credit: PublicDomainPictures via pixabay.com

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