Your Child Has Sand In His Eye – Now What?

by Beth Cale on July 13, 2013

Your family is at the beach, having a great time swimming, building sand castles, and lounging in the sun. All of a sudden, you hear a cry – your child has just gotten sand in his eye. What do you do?

1. DO NOT let your child rub his eye. It could cause an extremely painful corneal scratch, which may require medical care.


2. If your child is crying, let him cry. Although you will likely need to seek out other ways of removing the sand particles, this may naturally flush out the eye. Sometimes deliberate blinking will also help.

3. Wash your hands, and flush the eye with a clean source of water or saline solution. While holding his eyelids apart, have your child tilt his head back and slightly toward the side of the eye being rinsed. Pour clean water or saline solution in the direction his head is tilted.

4. Do a visual check to find any remaining sand particles. Hold his top lid up and direct him to look down, then hold his lower lid down and have him look up to try to locate any remaining sand particles. If you do see any, you can use a cotton swab to gently remove them. This should only be done to the white area of the eye, because the colored area contains the cornea, and using a cotton swab here could cause a painful abrasion. If you see sand in the colored area of the eye, you should attempt to flush it out with clean water or saline solution ONLY.

You have done everything you can for your child, but you’re still not sure whether you should take him to see a medical professional. When should you seek out medical attention?

Medical attention should be sought immediately if the sand is embedded in the cornea and you were unable to flush it out, or if you believe he has a corneal abrasion. You should also take him to see a professional if you were unable to flush all of the sand particles out of any area of his eye.

If you think you have successfully removed all sand particles, you can wait to see if redness and pain persists several hours after the sand has been removed. Should his eye still be irritated, or become red or painful in the following days, seek medical attention.

Whew! That certainly wasn’t how you planned on spending your family fun day at the beach. Hopefully this will not happen again, but if it does you want to be prepared.

Preparing for an eye care emergency is easy! Portable eye wash kits are available at your local drugstore, such as CVS Pharmacy. Another choice is saline solution. We recommend Bausch and Lomb Sensitive Eyes Plus Saline Solution for its pH-balanced formula and gentleness on sensitive eyes.

Now that you are prepared for an eye care emergency, get back out there and enjoy the rest of your summer!


*The information in this blog post is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice. AC Lens is not liable for the accuracy of this information.


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Elizabeth Cale is the Content and Social Media Strategist at AC Lens. Beth is passionate about helping others make the best choices for their eyewear and vision care needs, whether it's high-end fashion or glasses on a budget. In her spare time, Beth enjoys spending time with her horses, Samson and Molly.

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