What to Do if You Get Motor Oil in Your Eye

by Alastair | Last Updated: September 12, 2023

It’s a concern of many who change their oil at home about getting motor oil in their eyes. You wonder if there are any major implications of motor oil splashing your face. Unfortunately, accidental exposure to motor oil during vehicle maintenance can lead to a potentially painful and dangerous situation. It’s crucial to take immediate action to flush the chemical out of your eye and prevent further harm. Today, we are going to take a look at what to do if you get motor oil in your eye, including the symptoms, as well as safety tips.

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Health Implications of Getting Motor Oil In Your Eyes

Motor oil may not seem dangerous at first glance. However, you have to remember that it contains a mixture of chemicals, including hydrocarbons, phenoxides, and metal compounds like barium and cadmium. This means you don’t want to drink it. You also don’t want to get it in your eyes. When these substances come into contact with the eye, they can cause a range of health issues:

What Motor in Your Eye Feels Like

Being that motor oil is toxic to humans and animals, having it come into contact with your skin or other parts of the body is risky. If you get motor oil in your eye, you may end up experiencing the following symptoms:

What to Do if You Get Motor Oil in Your Eye

If you get engine oil in your eye, the best thing to do is act quickly. The more swiftly you move and start care, the more you can minimize injury. Follow the steps below to safely cleanse your eye if there is motor oil in it:

1. Wash Your Hands

If you got motor oil in your eye because of a spill or something residual on your hands, wash them first before moving forward. You do not want contaminants getting anywhere near your face as you proceed.

2. Rinse Your Eye With Water

Next, you must remove the motor oil from your eye. Find a sink faucet or a shower—anywhere where you can position your eye in the stream of water. Make sure the temperature is lukewarm.

To keep water from running into the uninjured eye, tilt the affected eye down and to the side. In this position, let the water run freely over the eye, flushing it out for about 15 to 30 minutes. The water must flow consistently over the eye the entire time. Avoid blinking, rubbing, and shutting the eye while there is motor oil still in it.

This video provides useful info on how to rinse chemicals out of your eyes. Motor oil is not mentioned, but the principals are the same:

3. Seek Medical Assistance

Even if your eye starts to feel better after the initial rinsing, it’s highly recommended to undergo a medical evaluation. This evaluation can ensure that no long-term damage has occurred and provide any necessary treatment. Even if you feel okay after the rinse, do not take any risks with the health of your eyes, especially if something doesn’t seem right.

4. Warm Compress

Whether you decide to go for medical attention right away or to relax for a moment, it is best to continue caring for yourself and your eye. Lie down and keep your affected eye slightly closed. Avoid putting any pressure on the injured eye. If possible, have someone call emergency assistance or take you to an eye doctor’s office or the nearest emergency room.

While waiting for help to arrive, you can use a warm, dry towel to gently cover your eye or apply a warm compress with a soft cloth.

How to Prevent Getting Motor Oil in Your Eye

Prevention is always better than a cure, particularly when it comes to eye injuries. Whenever you are working on vehicles or performing an oil change, it is best to protect yourself from motor oil exposure. Here are some tips to avoid accidents:

Final Thoughts on Getting Motor Oil in Your Eyes

What do you do if you get motor oil in your eye? Don’t panic. Take immediate action and flush your eyes with warm water. Seek medical help, too. However, the best way to keep motor oil from getting in your eyes is prevention, including proper eye protection and safety measures. Your eyes are irreplaceable, so prioritize their safety during vehicle maintenance tasks.