Safety and first aid

First aid for eye injuries


When giving first aid for eye injuries do not:

  • touch the eye or any contact lens
  • allow patient to rub eye
  • try to remove any object which is penetrating the eye
  • apply pressure when bandaging the eye.

Managing different types of eye injuries


  1. Open eyelid gently and wash eye with cold flowing water for 20 mins.
  2. Place eye pad or light clean dressing over the injured eye only.
  3. Ensure ambulance has been called – triple zero (000).


  1. Lie patient on their back.
  2. Place light dressing over injured eye only.
  3. Ask the patient to try not to move eye.
  4. Ensure ambulance has been called – triple zero (000).

Small object

  1. Ask patient to look up.
  2. Draw lower eyelid down. If object visible, remove with corner of moist cloth.
  3. If not visible, pull upper lid down.
  4. If unsuccessful, wash eye with sterile saline or clean water.
  5. If still unsuccessful, cover injured eye only and seek medical aid.


  1. Place thick pads above and below injured eye or cover object with paper cup.
  2. Bandage the pads in place, making sure there is no pressure on eyelids.
  3. Cover injured eye only.
  4. Ensure ambulance has been called – triple zero (000).

Embedded objects

  1. Cover the injured eye only.
  2. Seek medical aid.


  1. Wash eyes with sterile saline or cold tap water.
  2. Seek medical aid if necessary.

Where to get help

  • For emergency or life-threatening conditions, visit an emergency department or dial triple zero (000) to call an ambulance
  • See your doctor
  • Visit healthdirect (external site) or call 1800 022 222

This information provided by

Logo: St John Ambulance Australia


St John Ambulance Australia

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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