What Is an Eye Rinse?

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  • Written By: Angela Farrer
  • Edited By: Rachel Catherine Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 22 February 2020
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An eye rinse is a solution used to relieve common eye problems such as dry eyes, allergy irritations, and minor eye infections from foreign substances. Several different types of eye rinses are usually available over the counter at drug stores and are relatively inexpensive. Each kind of eye wash solution is made from specific substances designed to neutralize allergens and other eye irritants. Workplaces that involve hazardous materials also usually have an eye rinse station as part of the local safety regulations. This type of equipment allows workers to quickly rinse out one of their eyes if they become exposed to a harmful chemical.

Rinsing eyes with an over-the-counter solution is normally a quick and easy process of tilting the head back and squeezing a few drops into each eye, usually at the inner corners. Some people may experience brief burning or stinging if they are using an eye rinse in bright light, so some eye doctors may recommend that they only use an eye wash in dimmer light. Using an eye rinse solution may be initially uncomfortable, but many people report that it brings relief from dry eye problems and allergy-related eye irritation. One of the most common ingredients in eye wash solution is saline, though some types may have other inactive ingredients such as boric acid.


Some people also prefer to make homemade versions of eye rinses, particularly if they experience sensitivities to over-the-counter eye washes. Recipes for one of these rinses can call for purified water and fresh green tea, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Other home remedies for minor eye infections can include mixtures of water, sea salt, and high quality charcoal powder. This eye rinse is normally made by mixing the sea salt and charcoal powder in warm water before straining out the finished liquid to be used as the eye wash.

People who work in occupations with hazardous substances usually have eye rinse equipment available to them just in case of accidents that involve chemicals getting into the eyes. These kinds of work environments often include manufacturing plants and science laboratories. Even with safety precautions in place, these stations are normally required by law in many areas. An industrial eye wash station usually aims a concentrated jet of rinse solution at the affected eye to help flush the substance away as quickly as possible. Using one of these eye rinses can often help prevent permanent eye damage before the accident victim is able to receive medical attention if needed.



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