What to Do If Sand Gets in Your Eyes

lady with hat on at the beach

Now that it’s summer, you’re probably planning the next family vacation. For those that enjoy the beach, be cautious of high winds. Once a gust of wind picks up, you’ll feel your eyes water uncontrollably. Unfortunately, you’ve got sand in your eyes and it hurts. So, what now?

What to Do

As soon as you feel the sand in your eyes, flush them out with saline if available or water. Secondly, remove your contact lenses as soon as possible. Do NOT rub the eye as this can cause damage. Thirdly, do NOT try to remove the sand yourself using your fingers.

It’s Not Going Away

Even though you’re trying to flush out the eyes, scratches can still occur. When this happens, it is called a corneal abrasion. According to WebMD, “the cornea is the clear tissue that protects the pupil and iris and helps your eyes focus.” The following symptoms are a sign of this condition:

  • Eye pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Redness
  • Excessive tearing

Treatment if Sand Gets in Your Eyes

Call your optometrist as soon as possible. They will first inspect your corneas and eyelids under bright lights. Secondly, they’ll put a dye in the eye that will reveal any scratches. The optometrist may put antibiotic drops in your eyes to prevent infection or prescribe medication.

Thankfully, sand in the eyes rarely causes permanent eye damage. As soon as you act right away, you’ll be okay. If anything, it’ll pass in a day or so. We can’t emphasize it enough to NOT rub your eyes.


The best thing to do is wear sunglasses. Purchase a cheap pair just for your vacation. Wouldn’t you rather do that than risk having an eye emergency? If you need extra preparation for your trip, contact your optometrist. They’ll be happy to give you some safe beach tips!