How to Remove an Object From the Eye of a Newborn

When your newborn gets something in her eye, it can cause severe irritation.

If one of your newborn's eyes is watering and appears red and irritated, she may have something in her eye. While deeply embedded foreign objects should be removed by a doctor, you can help ease your baby's pain by working to remove minor irritants from her eye, such as eyelashes and dust.

Find someone to help you if you are alone. The Ask Dr. Sears website states that its easiest to remove an object from a child's eye if two adults are helping the process.

Wash your hands. The Baby Center website suggests always washing your hands before touching your newborn's eyes.

Pull your newborn's lower eyelid down gently to get him to open his eye wide. While holding his eyelid open, rinse his eye with a small stream of water to flush away irritants. The Baby Center website suggests using lukewarm water.

Tilt your child's head as you irrigate the eye. You want the excess water to run toward your baby's nose.

Continue to flush your newborn's irritated eye with water for 15 minutes. Hold a towel under her head to catch the water and any debris that flows from her eye.

Examine your child's eye if you don't see the object flow from his eye and onto the towel after 15 minutes of flushing. Pull his lower eyelid down to examine his lower eye, looking for the foreign object.

Check under the upper eyelid if you still can't find the object. To help your newborn flush foreign material from her eye, pull her top eyelid down, gently, over her lower eyelid. The Ask Dr. Sears website claims that this action helps remove objects trapped under the upper eyelid.

If irrigation does not work, use a cotton swab to hold your newborn's upper eyelid open. Using a moist handkerchief, remove the foreign object from the inside of the eyelid by wiping the handkerchief very gently against the eyelid.

If none of these steps remove the object from your newborn's eye, call her doctor.


If you remove the object but your child's eye remains irritated and watery, see a doctor to determine if the object caused injury to her eye.


Never place a dry piece of cloth or cotton swab on your baby's eyeball, even if you see a foreign object sitting on her eye. If flushing with water does not remove the object, see a doctor.

Take your child to the doctor immediately if he has been poked or hit with an object in his eye.