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Removing a metal sliver from your own or someone else's eye is a delicate procedure that requires patience, a steady hand and precision. If it is not removed quickly and in a safe manner, a sliver in the eye can result in serious infection, sometimes causing permanent vision damage or even blindness. In some cases, if you cannot remove the sliver safely at home or with the aid of a friend, a visit to the doctor is necessary.
Try to flush the sliver out of your eye using either clean water or saline solution. Using saline solution sterilizes the metal sliver and the eye, helping to prevent infection.
Look in a mirror and locate the sliver if you weren't able to successfully flush it out in the previous step. It may have become trapped between the eyelid and the eye or may be caught in the cornea.
Pull the upper and lower eyelids apart with the thumb and index finger of one hand if trying to remove the sliver by yourself. Sometimes having someone else hold your eye open for you is easier.
Pinch the tip of the sliver between two fingers and try to gently pull it from your eye. Never rub the eye in an attempt to free the sliver, as this will only force it deeper into the eye and can cause more problems. If the sliver is caught in the cornea, handle this step with extreme caution.
Use a tissue to aid you in removing the sliver if there is any chance your fingernails might scratch or poke your eye. The sliver may become caught on the material of the tissue, making it easier to remove.
Call a doctor if you cannot successfully remove the sliver from your eye alone or with a friend's help. A doctor will decide the best way to remove it and afterward will prescribe an ointment or eye drops to help your eye heal.
Wear appropriate safety equipment and always take the proper precautions necessary to protect yourself and your eyes if you know you're going to be working around metal shavings. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!