Cup a hand over an injured eye, try not to blink, and let your tears flow freely. Tears form a protective film, whereas rubbing may cause a foreign object to cut the eye or a liquid irritant to spread further.
If a foreign object can’t be removed, or if the eye still hurts after the object is out, the eyeball may have been cut. Close the eye, and cover it with a pad of cotton wool, gauze, or a folded handkerchief extending from the forehead to the cheek. Tape the pad in place to keep eye movement to a minimum until you get to a doctor.
A blow that causes a black eye can also injure the eye itself, causing internal bleeding leading to infection. Cover the eye with a cold compress, then have a doctor examine it.
Rarely, a splinter or other sharp object impales the eye. Don’t pull the object out. Cover the eye and the object with a paper cup, or bend a sturdy piece of paper into a cone. Tape that protection in place while the person is transported to the hospital.
Chemicals splashed into the eye must be washed out instantly before you even take time to call a doctor. Have the person lie flat on his back near a sink or hose. Hold the eyelids open with thumb and finger and pour water gently but generously over the eye for 15 minutes.