So you’re rolling in the hay with a guy and he pulls out to give you a “facial”. Some of his semen gets into your eye and, while there’s some stinging discomfort, you brush off the pain and think everything will be dandy after a quick rinse with water. Buuut everything may not be.
Can you contract an STI if semen gets into your eye?
According to Dr Grace Huang, a resident doctor at DTAP Clinic Robertson, you can actually contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI) if semen gets into your eye. Some of the common STIs that can be transmitted in this manner include chlamydia and gonorrhea.
“These are both bacterial STIs, and there have been well-documented case reports of chlamydia conjunctivitis that resulted from semen in the eye,” she says. Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the eye’s mucous membrane.
“Viral infections like ocular herpes, which is caused by the herpes simplex virus, can occur as well,” she adds.
She points out that ocular herpes can start out mild but evolve into a severe infection that not only affects the deeper layers of the eye, but threaten one’s sense of sight.
However, while it’s also possible to contract HIV this way, the risk is “extremely low”.
“There’s a theoretical risk that HIV infection can occur from infected semen coming into contact with the eye mucous membrane. But to date, there have not been any specific published case reports,” notes Dr Huang.
What you should do if semen gets into your eye
You’ll want to rub your eye if this happens to you but don’t—you might make things worse. Instead, immediately rinse with either water or saline solution.
“Make sure you irrigate your eye thoroughly by pulling both the upper and lower eyelids up and down to wash out as much semen as possible. And don’t use soap. This will result in more severe irritation and inflammation,” says Dr Huang.
She adds that if you’re wearing contact lenses, you should leave them in because they act as a protective barriers between your eye and the semen, so only remove them after you’ve carried out a rinse.
If you experience irritation or redness in the eye, which is normal given that semen contains acids like ascorbic acid and citric acid and sugars, you can apply gentle lubricating eye drops for relief.
The most important thing to do, then, is to see a doctor as soon as possible to discuss your risk of contracting an STI. Because should you be exposed to an infection, early diagnosis and treatment are crucial in reducing its severity.
For obvious reasons, though, if you must have a “facial”, at least try and keep your eyes shut.