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How to Flush An Eye

How to Flush An Eye

If a poison gets in the eye, begin flushing immediately using the method described.
A poison centre or other medical professional should be consulted as soon as possible while flushing continues.


Remove contact lenses before flushing.

Use clean, room temperature water poured from a jug or bottle, or a low-pressure running tap or hose.

  • Tilt the person's head onto one side.
  • Carefully lift up the upper and lower eye-lids.
  • Pour water continuously across the eye from the nose to the ear.
  • If you are only flushing one eye, be careful not to get any product in the unaffected eye.

Flushing should continue for at least 15 minutes, and may be required for much longer, depending on medical advice

An eye examination may be required to be performed at your Medical Center or Hospital.

The following should NOT be used to flush chemicals from the eye(s):
  • Eye baths (e.g. Optrex)
  • Eye drops
  • A high-pressure showerhead

Eye baths and drops contain chemicals that may interact with what is in the eye and cause further injury
Eye baths and drops do not contain enough fluid to successfully flush an eye
High pressure showers may cause pain and further damage to the eye





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University of Otago NZ National Poisons Centre


Last updated 05/09/2007



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