What to do if hand sanitiser gets in your eye

Hand washing

Information on what to do if you get hand sanitiser in your eye from Specsavers

19 April 2021

Hand sanitiser is being used to help limit the spread of coronavirus. While unlikely, it is possible that hand sanitiser or other alcohol-based rubs could accidentally come into contact with your eyes and cause irritation. This could happen if:

  • splashes from squeezing or squirting hand sanitiser reach your eyes
  • you touch your eyes too soon after using hand sanitiser

To prevent this, try to avoid touching your face as much as possible. If you do get hand sanitiser in your eyes, Specsavers recommends that you calmly follow this process, which we've tailored to University staff here:

  1. Keep your hands away from your eyes and avoid rubbing them to prevent any more solution irritating them further.

  2. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to remove the sanitiser.

  3. If you are working on campus, rinse your eyes out with one litre sterile saline eye wash solution if this is available in your local first aid kit.

    If you are working from home or do not have access to a first aid kit, rinse your eyes out with clean water for 10 to 20 minutes.

    You can do this by:
    • filling a large bowl with clean water and submerging your face while keeping your eyes open
    • continually splashing clean water onto your face while keeping your eyes open
    • using a gentle stream of running water from your bathroom or kitchen sink, keeping your unaffected eye tightly closed to avoid contaminated water running into it

  4. If you have comfort eye drops, place one or two drops into your irritated eye to soothe it and reduce discomfort.

While getting hand sanitiser in your eyes is uncomfortable, it is unlikely to cause long term damage to your eyes or vision. Following the process above should ease the irritation.

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