"You don't touch, rub or apply pressure to the eye, period," says Banta. "Don't put any medication or ointment in it, and if something is stuck, don't remove it."
Pain medications are out as well. The proper treatment is to shield the eye and go immediately to the emergency room, Banta says.
Chemical injuries can also occur at home. Compounds in cleaning products can damage the delicate tissues of the eye.
"With any chemical injury, the most important thing is to flush the eye, and that begins at home," Banta says.
If an eyewash solution is handy, that's preferred for flushing the eye, he says.
But that's not always possible, which "basically means putting your head under a water faucet if that's the only thing you can do," Eliott says. "Do whatever you can to irrigate the eye for as long as you can."
And for most eye injuries, time is of the essence.
"The faster [patients] are seen, the better the outcome," says Dr. Pratap Challa, assistant professor of ophthalmology at Duke Eye Center in Durham, N.C. "They should seek help immediately."
For more on how to prevent eye injury at home, visit www.geteyesmart.org.