You're probably thinking: "What kind of idiot would rub hot peppers in their eye?" The answer is me. I'm that idiot.

I was chopping up a jalapeno last night in preparation for some chicken fajitas when I accidentally touched my face. My cheek started burning, so instead of leaving it alone like a normal person, I proceeded to rub it to try and make it stop.

It did not stop. Instead, the hot pepper juice spread into my eyeball and under my contact lens, causing one of the most painful stinging sensations I have ever experienced.

It was an overall terrible experience, filled with me frantically scrolling through the internet for a solution while clutching my burning eye and swearing in my kitchen (apologies to my roommates).

Now, I am creating the post as a preventative measure for you, so you'll know exactly what to do if you accidentally get hot pepper in your eyes.


Here are my tips for surviving the pepper pain:

Tip #1: Do NOT use water. 

My first instinct was to splash water in my eye, and this was actually the worst thing I could've done. Not only does water do nothing to stop the burning sensation, it also helps spread the pepper juice even more, causing further pain.

This is because peppers contain capsaicin, which is the compound that makes them so spicy. According to PepperScale, this compound is similar to oil, making it a natural repellent to water.

Tip #2: Put milk on your eyeball. 

You heard me right. The acid in milk will help break down capsaicin, making it the ideal cure for your pepper dilemma. Pour some milk on a paper towel and pat that sucker all around your eye. After the patting, let it soak there until pain subsides.

If the pain is really bad, experts recommend putting a few drops of milk in your eye. Gross? Yes. But does it work? Also yes.


Ideally, you'll just be careful when cutting hot peppers and not rub your eyes.

But, if you're too excited about your dinner to think about pepper precautions, I hope my embarrassing personal anecdote helps you find solace.